May 16 (UPI) — North Carolina filed a lawsuit against JUUL on Wednesday, accusing the e-cigarette maker of targeting children in its marketing and failing to clearly state the risks associated with the product.
The lawsuit accused the company of downplaying the potency and danger of nicotine in its devices, which can lead to addiction. North Carolina Attorney General Joshua Stein, who filed the lawsuit, called for JUUL to stop selling certain flavors of e-cigarettes in stores and online.
He also requested that the company stop creating email marketing, advertising or social media posts targeting minors, and stop advertising outdoors, near schools or playgrounds, or at sporting or entertaining events.
“As a result of JUUL’s deceptive and unfair practices, thousands of North Carolina kids are at risk of addiction to nicotine,” he said. “JUUL must be stopped from spreading this disease any further and must pay for its violations of the law.”
A spokesperson said the company has not reviewed the lawsuit, but “we share the attorney general’s concerns about youth vaping, which is why we have been cooperating with his office and why we have taken the most aggressive actions of anyone in the industry to combat youth usage.”
JUUL said it has advocated for raising the age to buy tobacco to 21, stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol flavored products in some retail stores and shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts.
North Carolina is the first state to sue JUUL, though the company is no stranger to legal action. A Florida law firm filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in April, saying it violated federal racketeering laws by targeting teens.
A study released last month showed that 40 percent of teens who use vaping devices they believed were nicotine-free actually tested positive for nicotine.