New York and California announced lawsuits this week against Juul Labs. The states allege that the company is illegally targeting teenagers in ads for its e-cigarettes and making misleading statements about how much nicotine is in vaping products.
New York’s lawsuit, announced Tuesday by state Attorney General Letitia James, added to several earlier legal challenges against the company.
“Juul’s pervasive ad campaign, which included bright, colorful images of attractive, young models, appealed to underage youth,” James said. The company also attracted teens with flavored vaping products, she said.
The company stopped selling many of its most popular flavors in the United States in recent months, including mint and mango, as research showed those flavors were highly popular among teenagers.
The attorney general said a recent National Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that about 4.1 million U.S. high school students and 1.2 million middle school students use e-cigarettes. The legal age to buy e-cigarettes is 18.
The California case also said underage online customers could get around the company’s online age-verification process.
Juul spokesman Austin Finan said in a statement that the company is committed to working with authorities to “combat underage use and convert adult smokers from [traditional] cigarettes.”