North Carolina on Wednesday launched a lawsuit against the electronic cigarette company Juul, making it the first state to legally challenge the trendy trade.
Attorney General Josh Stein has testified the lawsuit against Juul Labs, Inc. in a state court alleging that the company had violated North Carolina's unfair and deceptive marketing practices law by misrepresenting the dangers of nicotine in its products. Stein also alleges that Juul designed, marketed and sold his electronic cigarettes in order to attract young people younger than the legal age of buying tobacco.
"JUUL has targeted young people as clients. As a result, vaping has become an epidemic among miners, "said Stein said in a statement. "JUUL's business practices are not only imprudent, they are illegal. And I have the intention to stop them. We can not allow another generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine. "
The complaint in North Carolina asks the court to require Juul that he stop selling electronic cigarettes to minors in North Carolina, limits the aromas sold, stops advertising and marketing that tend to attract minors and removes customer data for consumers impossible to confirm at least 18. The Attorney General also asks the company to face civil penalties and to cede to the profits derived by the State from its' practices unfair and deceptive "in North Carolina.
Juul said that his vaping devices help smokers quit traditional tobacco cigarettes, the main ingredient associated with the health consequences of smoking. A study funded by Juul found that almost half of adult smokers have completely abandoned the traditional cigarette after using the company's products for at least three months.
The company says that the aromatization of its products helps make it easier for smokers to make the change. But Stein argued that Juul's business strategy targets teens and that aromas only make it more appealing.
"Juul uses fruit and dessert flavors that appeal to kids," Stein said. a press conference. The company has changed the chemical composition of its products to make them "gentler for the throats of young, beginner smokers," he said.
Stein added that the vaping device makes it easier for teens to hide it because the company designed it to look like a USB key. He also said that Juul "marketed his products on social networks to attract children".
In the past year, e-cigarettes consumption has increased by 78% among high school students in North Carolina and 48% among college students, according to a study by the North Carolina Department of Health and Social Services.
A spokesman for Juul told HuffPost in a statement that the company had not yet seen the lawsuit, but "we share the Attorney General's concerns about young people's vaping, which is why we are cooperating with his office and have taken the most aggressive measures of anyone in the industry to combat the use of youth. "
Juul has stopped selling tobacco-free and menthol-free flavored juulpods to traditional retailers, has advanced its online age verification process and closed Facebook and Instagram accounts while striving to remove inappropriate content. social media generated by others on the platforms. .
But the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation advocacy group said last month that Juul has more than 80 lobbyists fight the proposals in the 50 states to ban flavored electronic cigarettes, to enact legislation that deprives local governments of the right to control vaping and to try to maintain the strict provisions regarding the implementation of bills to discourage young people from vaping.
The costume of North Carolina comes after Stein launched an investigation in the company last fall. While North Carolina is the first state to have sued Juul in court, several states have opposed its products through legislation. California is on the verge of becoming the first state to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products, while more than a dozen states have enacted laws that elevate the state. legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 years old. also defends such legislation.
the FDA released a new policy in March which limited the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes. Federal policy does not prevent state attorneys general from creating additional restrictions.
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