Attorney General Josh Shapiro has filed a lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Incorporated, the manufacturer of the popular e-cigarette vaping product JUUL, for putting Pennsylvanians’ health at risk and deceiving consumers, his office announced today.
The lawsuit, filed with the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia today, seeks to implement a state-wide ban on the sale of JUUL products, according to the release. If the Court does not impose this ban, Shapiro will request that it put restrictions on the way JUUL products are designed and marketed, and require the company to pay for public health research, youth prevention and nicotine cessation to mitigate some of the harm it has caused.
“They disregarded their growing audience of young users, taking no action, as their profit margins skyrocketed on the backs of American kids,” Shapiro said in the statement.
Hundreds of people have been hospitalized due to vaping and e-cigarette use, The Temple News reported in December 2019.
“Juul’s fraudulent efforts to market vape products to teens, as well as to adults as a safer alternative to cigarettes, contributed to the rise of a public health epidemic,” wrote Laura Siminoff, dean of the College of Public Health, in an email to The Temple News. “There is evidence that Juul knowingly marketed its products to teens. Furthermore, there are early indicators that vaping may not be safe.”
Shapiro’s suit also alleges that JUUL Labs violated Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and should be held liable for not making consumers aware of health risks, according to the release.
JUUL Labs allegedly breached the law by targeting young people with “kid-friendly” flavors, putting the product on the market before testing its safety and increasing the amount of nicotine in its products, according to the release.
JUUL gained popularity among adolescents when the product was first sold in 2015, according to the release. JUUL markets its products to teens with flavored nicotine and misleading information about health impacts, The Temple News reported.
JUUL, along with other tobacco products including hookah, other e-cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco were banned from Temple University’s Main, Ambler, Harrisburg and Center City campuses in 2019, The Temple News reported.