Juul has been hit with another lawsuit over its marketing practices toward minors. The new lawsuit alleges that the e-cigarette company advertised on such websites as Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Seventeen Magazine, and Cartoon Network.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and focuses on the company’s advertising campaign in 2015. The suit alleges that Juul purchased advertising space on websites geared toward children and minors. Aside from the companies above, the lawsuit also mentions coolmath-games.com and socialstudiesforkids.com.
“Juul is responsible for the millions of young people nationwide who are addicted to e-cigarettes, reversing decades of progress in combating underage tobacco and nicotine use,” Healey said in the press release. “Our lawsuit sheds new light on the company’s intent to target young people, and we are going to make them pay for the public health crisis they caused in Massachusetts.”
Juul did not immediately respond to our request for comment on the lawsuit. We will update this story when we hear back.
The lawsuit also seeks details on how Juul was able to sell e-cigarettes to underage users through its website, specifically to Massachusetts addresses that did not verify age.
Healey claims that Juul also attempted to recruit celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart, as well as influencers on social media with a large following. to promote the company’s products.
These claims are similar to a Federal Trade Commision’s (FTC) investigation that started in August 2019. The FTC is looking into Juul’s hiring of influencers to promote its e-cigarette products and whether influencers were used to attract minors.
Juul previously told Digital Trends that its paid influencer campaign was “short-lived” in 2018 and that it spent “less than $10,000” on influencers.
In November, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a lawsuit against Juul for the “deceptive and misleading marketing of its e-cigarettes.”
Federal authorities also began a criminal investigation into the company in September, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting its own investigation into the Juul’s practices as well.
Amid last year’s vaping illness epidemic, San Francisco, where Juul is headquartered, became the first city in the U.S. to ban the sales of e-cigarettes. Since then, Massachusetts, Michigan, California, and New York have enacted similar bans on vaping products due to health concerns. President Donald Trump has also said that he wants to ban flavored e-cigarettes nationwide and issue new regulatory guidance on vapes.
Last month, the FDA officially banned fruit- and mint-flavored e-cigarette cartridges currently on the market, including Juul’s products.
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