Electronic cigarette company Juul Labs Inc. is facing a new lawsuit in New York.
State Attorney General Letitia James announced the suit on Tuesday. In it, the company is accused of using deceptive and misleading marketing in the sale of its e-cigarettes. The suit alleges the practice contributed to the youth vaping epidemic in New York.
According to James’ office, JUUL illegally sold its products to minors though its website and third-party retail stores throughout the state. Those transactions allegedly caused a large number of young people to become addicted to nicotine.
In addition, the suit alleges the company misrepresented its products as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
“There can be no doubt that JUUL’s aggressive advertising has significantly contributed to the public health crisis that has left youth in New York and across the country addicted to its products,” James said. “By glamorizing vaping, while at the same time downplaying the nicotine found in vaping products, JUUL is putting countless New Yorkers at risk. I am prepared to use every legal tool in our arsenal to protect the health and safety of our youth.”
Juul said in response that it’s focused on “earning the trust of society” by working with government entities to combat underage use and “convert adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”
The New York State Department of Health says there have been 42 deaths and 2,172 cases of severe vaping-related illnesses across the country, including 146 cases in New York.
In October a 17-year-old from the Bronx died from a vaping-related illness. He is the youngest vaping-related fatality in the country.
JUUL was sued by California on Monday and North Carolina in May. Illinois, Massachusetts and several other states are also investigating the company.