After a seven-month investigation of JUUL Labs, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has filed a lawsuit against the California-based e-cigarette company, claiming JUUL marketed its products to minors and downplayed the dangerous effects of nicotine.
Stein says JUUL is responsible for a teen vaping epidemic, and that its marketing practices violate North Carolina state law. The lawsuit was filed in a North Carolina state court. North Carolina is home to RJ Reynolds (now a subsidiary of British American Tobacco), the maker of Camel and Newport cigarettes. The state also produces more tobacco than any other.
“JUUL targeted young people as customers. As a result, vaping has become an epidemic among minors,” said Stein in a statement. “JUUL’s business practices are not only reckless, they’re illegal. And I intend to put a stop to them. We cannot allow another generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine.”
It doesn’t take a seven-month investigation to reach the conclusions Stein has. Anyone who glances at a newspaper headline could have spouted the same claims. Of course, if the AG really did investigate, he would understand that the epidemic is mostly just a fad, and that the number of high school kids who have never smoked and use vapes regularly is tiny.
Stein is one of at least two state attorneys general investigating JUUL. Massachusetts AG Maura Healey announced her investigation last July, but hasn’t yet taken any action against the vape manufacturer. While Healey’s investigation continues, former Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley joined JUUL’s government relations team.
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