Colorado sues JUUL for targeting youth in marketing campaign, misrepresenting health risks

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DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Tuesday that the state has filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court against JUUL Labs, Inc.

The lawsuit is seeking money in damages, and for the company to stop allegedly deceptive practices. The suit accused JUUL of downplaying the addictive nicotine concentration, falsely suggesting the product was a cessation tool, and falsely suggesting it was a healthy alternative to cigarettes. Weiser said that violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.

According to Weiser, the lawsuit is the result of an investigation into JUUL that was announced in August 2019.

“Addiction to e-cigarettes poses major health risks to Colorado youth,” Weiser said.

“JUUL must be held accountable for its reckless, deceptive, and unconscionable marketing that specifically targeted youth, downplayed its nicotine content and the presence of dangerous chemicals, and deceptively claimed its products as a healthy alternative to cigarettes and as a smoking cessation device.”

Colorado leads the nation in youth vaping, almost double the national rate, with 27% of high school students stating they had vaped in the previous 30 days.

In response, JUUL sent this statement:

“We will continue to reset the vapor category in the U.S. and seek to earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, legislators, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes. As part of that process in the U.S., we are preparing comprehensive and scientifically rigorous Premarket Tobacco Product Applications, stopped the sale of flavored products other than Tobacco and Menthol in November of last year, halted our television, print and digital product advertising and support the Administration’s final flavor policy. Our customer base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers. We will respond to the allegations in the complaint through the appropriate legal channels.”

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