HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit that accuses Juul Labs of jeopardizing people’s health and targeting youth with its vaping products.
The lawsuit calls for Juul to stop sales in Pennsylvania.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Juul violated Pennsylvania’s unfair trade practices and consumer protection law by strategically targeting young people with “kid-friendly” flavors, chemically enhancing the amounts of nicotine and its absorption rate, and rushing to market before providing proof its products are safe.
The complaint further alleges the company is liable for not disclosing the health risks of Juul products.
“Juul knowingly targeted young people with tactics similar to the tobacco companies’ playbook,” Shapiro said in a statement. “There is no proof these e-cigarettes are safe and until there is, we need to get Juul products off shelves and out of the hands of young people.”
“Juul manipulated data to deceive consumers about the nicotine content of its products. First Juul estimated their products delivered substantially more nicotine than its competitors in a patent and then doubled back to say the products were comparable to an average cigarette,” Shapiro said.
“They disregarded their growing audience of young users, taking no action, as their profit margins skyrocketed on the backs of American kids.”
The complaint alleges Juul “deliberately and cynically” marketed its products to young people in Pennsylvania. As a result, the suit claims approximately 28% of American high school and middle school students are e-cigarette users.
The company also led people to believe Juul devices helped people stop smoking, while the engineer behind its flavors stated the company was “not trying to design a cessation product at all,” Shapiro’s office said.
If the court does not agree to take Juul devices out of production, the attorney general’s office is asking for restrictions on the way the company’s product is designed, marketed, and sold, and to require the company to pay for youth-oriented prevention programs, public health research, and nicotine cessation programs.