AG sues Juul, alleging it could be marketing to children.
There has been a lot of talk about e-cigarettes and edibles resembling candy and other sweets and the marketing of these leading to the potential to draw children to the products. Around Halloween time, the National Center for Poison Control (NCPC) warned that, when it comes to edibles, “legal or illegal, if there’s marijuana in a household, small children can get to it. Kids are always curious, super-fast, and like to imitate adults.”
The NCPC also shared last month that researchers in Colorado “reported an increase in the number of children brought to the emergency room after swallowing medical marijuana products. The children ranged in age from as young as 8 months to 12 years old. Most of the children ate medical marijuana cakes, cookies or candies belonging to their grandparents, parents, babysitters, or friends of the family.
Now, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is turning his attention to e-cigarette providers and has filed a lawsuit against Juul founders James Monsees and Adam Bowen over concerns that their product is being marketed to children.
This isn’t the first time Juul, specifically, has been targeted. In 2018, the company launched in Israel where there is no age restriction on advertising or selling e-cigarettes to minors. Then, in 2019, Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong announced the state will be joining others in an investigation of vaping manufacturer’s marketing efforts to determine whether the company “is illegally marketing its products as smoking cessation devices” and “whether it has properly limited its marketing to adults.” Tong’s efforts were part of a national push to curb youth vaping.
Tong said at the time, “The state’s investigation is part of a national effort to curb youth vaping. That includes a lawsuit over Juul’s marketing practices in North Carolina and similar investigations in other states.” He added, “Connecticut is targeting Juul because it has the largest share of the vaping market.”
Juul has insisted in the face of litigation that its products are made for adults only and it does not market to children, even despite launching in areas of the world where there is no age restriction.
“All companies and individuals involved in manufacturing, distributing and selling e-cigarettes in North Carolina should hear this message loud and clear,” Stein said. “If you get North Carolina’s teens addicted to nicotine, there will be consequences.”
In June, Juul paid $40 million to North Carolina and was required to take action to prevent underage use and sales. Stein had sued Juul previously, accusing it of “employing unfair and deceptive practices that targeted young people to use its vaping products, which deliver addictive nicotine.”
The news of the latest Juul suit comes at the same time the attorneys for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appeared in court fending off litigation from anti-tobacco groups accusing the agency of failing to implement a recent ban on menthol cigarettes.
The American Medical Association, African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council and Action on Smoking and Health sued the the FDA in 2020, demanding it take action based on the findings of a previous FDA report regarding the dangers of menthol products.