The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office in Illinois has filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs, claiming the company uses deceptive marketing techniques aimed at teens.
Lake County State’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim also said that Juul violated the Prevention of Tobacco Use by Minors and Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products Act by marketing their products to teens.
“Just like cigarette companies did in the past, Juul preyed on teens by using advertisements that glamorized their product in order to get kids hooked on nicotine,” Nerheim said. “It will take years of education and money to right the wrongs and cover the damages caused by Juul’s marketing campaigns. To that end, the company should be held accountable for the massive expected cost to undo the damage they created.”
According to the lawsuit, teen smoking rates began to decline in the 1990s, only to drastically rise because of a combination of Juul Labs’ nicotine delivery technology and social media campaign targeting teens.
The lawsuit claims that, “Juul sought to fill the void left by big tobacco by creating a new-age electronic cigarette, the Juul, that is so addictive it led to the largest ever recorded increase in substance abuse in the past 43 years for any adolescent substance used in the U.S. By utilizing new technologies and social media, Juul picked up right where the big tobacco companies left off.”
The suit further alleges that nicotine use from e-cigarettes increases the risk of teens developing major depressive disorder, agoraphobia, and panic disorder, while the vapor emitted from this technology includes 31 harmful chemical carcinogens and respiratory irritants.
Juul released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
“We have no higher priority than to prevent youth usage of our products which is why we have taken aggressive, industry leading actions to combat youth usage. We strongly advocate for Tobacco 21 legislation, we stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol based flavored Juul pods to our traditional retail store partners, enhanced our online age-verification process and strengthened our retailer compliance program with over 2,000 secret shopper visits per month.