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NC AG: E-Cig Company Targeted Kids

Young woman with her head in a cloud of vapor smoke
By Ceylan Pumphrey, Esq. on May 23, 2019

E-cigarettes and vape pens have been under fire for a while now. One reason for the concern are the injuries users have suffered due to exploding devices. Another reason for the concern is the questionable marketing strategies of these companies, which many believe target teenagers. In fact, the North Carolina Attorney has sued Juul for targeting youth.

Not the First and Probably Not the Last Lawsuit

This new lawsuit isn't the first for Juul, and many other lawsuits also claim that the products are marketed and designed to be attractive to teens. This recent lawsuit, however, is the first one to be filed by a state attorney general.

The North Carolina Attorney General said that the company's marketing targeting youth "while downplaying the potential harm its products can cause, resulted in an 'epidemic' of vaping among minors." The lawsuit is seeking civil penalties and requesting the North Carolina State Court to require Juul to limit the flavors that it sells in the state. It's also requesting that Juul be required to delete data for customers under 18 years of age.

Given the intense scrutiny that Juul and other brands have been under, it's probable that other states will follow in filing similar lawsuits -- especially since the North Carolina Attorney General says he shared the information from his investigation with other states.

Additional Pressure from Federal, State, and Local Governments

These lawsuits aren't the only issues that Juul and similar companies are facing. The federal government passed laws in August 2018 that make it a crime to sell or give out samples of e-cigarettes to people under 18 years old. Additionally, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will no longer allow convenience stores to sell flavored e-cigarette products.

Aside from the North Carolina Attorney General filing a lawsuit, other states have also taken actions to regulate vaping and e-cigarettes. Many states have included them in their smoking bans and regulations for public areas. Some cities have also become involved in trying to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among teens. For example, Los Angeles asked for an injunction against e-cigarette companies that market to minors on social media and sell their products without verifying the customer's age.

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