On Wednesday, the Attorney General of North Carolina announced his first state lawsuit against electronic cigarette giant Juul, which dominates the vaping market in the United States. This undoubtedly puts more pressure on the largest U.S. e-cigarette manufacturer, whose products have been closely scrutinized by the courts for use among teenagers.
Josh Stein, Juul’s first state attorney general, said the Juul company targeted young people and diluted the potential hazards of its products, making e-cigarettes an “epidemic” among minors.
Last October, Stein announced an investigation into Juul’s marketing practices and retail partners.
Juul’s electronic cigarettes are similar to USB flash drives in that they work by vaporizing liquid containing nicotine.
Stein said he shared his findings with other states and said he would not be surprised if they followed North Carolina’s example.
A spokesman for Juul said the company had not reviewed the lawsuit, but had been working with Stein’s office.
On the other hand, electronic cigarette manufacturers have been under pressure from the FDA, which in March formulated plans to limit teenagers’use of the popular nicotine device.
Altria Group, which owns 35% of Juul, has pulled off popular e-cigarettes such as mangoes and cucumbers and shut down social media channels on Instagram and Facebook.
Stein said he asked the North Carolina court to restrict the types of e-cigarettes Juul sold in the state and to delete customer data for people under 18. He also asked Juul to pay a civil fine.