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Most of the nation’s state attorneys general have banded together to launch a joint investigation into the advertising of JUUL cigarettes, which allegedly targeted children and prior non-smokers, fueling the current vaping epidemic among adolescents throughout the United States.
A 39-state coalition is being led by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Florida, Nevada and Texas, and will investigate JUUL Labs, Inc.’s marketing and sales practices over the past few years since the vaping pen was introduced in 2015. They will also investigate the company’s statements on the safety, effectiveness, and risks of using JUUL devices for smoking cessation.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued a press release on February 25 announcing the investigation, as did AGs from several other involved states as well.
“I have long been concerned about how JUUL targets children with their sleek devices and marketing practices. They have almost singled handily gotten a whole new generation of teens hooked on tobacco,” Rosenblum said in the press release. “JUUL’s aggressive advertising has significantly contributed to a public health crisis in Oregon and across the country.”
“Preying on children and those looking for help to quit smoking is the one of the most despicable examples of risking people’s lives for corporate profit,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford added. “I’m proud my office is taking a leadership role in this multistate investigation to get to the bottom of JUUL’s marketing and sales practices.”
JUUL was introduced only a few years ago, but has quickly became the most widely used vaping product among teens, following what critics say was an intentional marketing scheme that promoted the controversial vape pod toward young users, creating new nicotine addictions that are expected to drive JUUL sales for decades.
The addictive JUUL pods are designed to look like USB drives, allowing students to hide their vaping habit from teachers, parents and other adults. Although the manufacturer suggested JUUL was safer than smoking traditional cigarettes, high levels of nicotine are delivered by each pod, making the device particularly addictive.
The new investigation came just days after Pennsylvania filed a complaint against JUUL Labs, alleging their products constituted a public health risk for the state’s citizens, particularly its youth.
The lawsuit indicates JUUL vape pods have caused a public health crisis in Pennsylvania, resulting in a nicotine addiction epidemic allegedly fueled by the manufacturer’s decision to specifically target JUUL advertisements toward teens, children and prior non-smokers, with disastrous results nationwide.
JUUL Vaping Addiction Epidemic
Recent FDA data indicates teen e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels in the United States, and JUUL Labs has been accused of fueling the growing teen nicotine addiction problems in the United States.
In addition to designing JUUL to look like a USB thumb drive, the manufacturer also marketed and sold JUUL pods in various candy-like flavors, which has resulted in a large number of teens and prior non-smokers starting to vape, and developing addictions to the high levels of nicotine contained in the pods.
In September 2019, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL, indicating there was evidence it told school-aged children that its products were safer than cigarettes, which has not been proven.
In addition to this multi-state investigation, a growing number of JUUL lawsuits and class action claims have been filed nationwide. Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the JUUL litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is where JUUL Labs, Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters are located.
As JUUL addiction lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months, the litigation is expected to continue to grow, and is likely to encompass tens of thousands of complaints.