California and New York have filed lawsuits against JUUL, a San Francisco-based e-cigarette company for illegally targeting youths. In complaints filed by California on Monday, and New York on Tuesday, both states allege JUUL illegally campaigned toward underage individuals in order to sell its products.
In 2016 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule regulating electronic nicotine delivery systems (including e-cigarettes), making it illegal nationally to sell these products to anyone under the age of 18 years old. Additionally, the prohibition of electronic cigarettes sales to minors in California has been in effect since 2010.
In both lawsuits, California and New York separately claim that JUUL’s marketing campaign resulted in millions of underage consumers using JUUL products without knowing the potential harms associated with nicotine use. The increase of teenage use of e-cigarettes containing nicotine has led to a public health epidemic with negative effects on youth health and public schools. The states assert that JUUL holds 64 percent of the US e-cigarette market and as a result, the company is primarily responsible for the rise in teenage “vaping.”
Further, the states argue JUUL failed to verify the age of consumers buying their product. Within JUUL’s website there is an age verification function, but the states claim that for youth who failed this verification process, JUUL continued to send marketing material via their email addresses. In doing so, the states contend that JUUL not only engaged in illegal marketing practices, but also violated the minor’s privacy rights.
Currently, the company has yet to officially respond to the allegations.