New York Attorney General Letitia James Announces Lawsuit Against Juul, Claims Company Targeted Minors

'There is no doubt that Juul, the largest e-cigarette company, has caused this addiction,' the New York Attorney General said.

State Attorney General Letitia James announces a lawsuit against e-cigarette giant Juul on November 19, 2019 in New York City.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

'There is no doubt that Juul, the largest e-cigarette company, has caused this addiction,' the New York Attorney General said.

New York State is the latest of several states to announce a lawsuit against Juul, the manufacturer of popular e-cigarette products of the same name. The suit claims that the company targeted teens and used deceptive advertising practices that have led to nicotine addictions among minors.

The lawsuit was announced by New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday. James placed blame directly on the popular company for creating the problem.

“There is no doubt that Juul, the largest e-cigarette company, has caused this addiction,” James said at a news conference, per CNBC.

Per the lawsuit, the state of New York claims that the company modeled its practices after those of the big tobacco industry, using deceptive marketing and advertising practices in order to sell its products to minors. The lawsuit also alleges that the company hired young, attractive models to advertise its products in order to make them seem safer than 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 added, per New York Post.

The lawsuit also claims that the company violated a recently-enacted New York statute that prohibits the sale of products containing nicotine to anyone under the age of 21-years-old, replacing the previous statute which prohibited the sale to anyone under the age of 18.

Per New York Post, the New York State Department of Health has admitted it can’t find the direct cause of the recent rise in lung-related illnesses, which is linked to a rise in using e-cigarettes.

Earlier in the week, California launched a similar lawsuit, claiming that the company targeted and illegally sold its products to minors. It cited a specific instance where the company allowed 17 shipments to be delivered to an individual who claimed to be named “Beer Can.” The state of California said that specific instance is just one in a string of behaviors where the company permitted deliveries to fake names and addresses, allowing minors to circumvent the company’s age-verification process.

In May, North Carolina announced a similar lawsuit against the company, citing deceptive advertising practices and targeting products to minors. The company is currently being investigated on a national level by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CNBC reported.

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Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation's largest maker of vaping products, are offered for sale at the Smoke Depot on September 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
  Scott Olson / Getty Images

As The Inquisitr previously reported, as more states crack down on e-cigarettes, there are some who fear that many will turn to traditional cigarettes to feed into their nicotine addiction. While there are no reported health benefits to Juul and other e-cigarette products, they are viewed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, which often contain more harmful chemicals and substances, like tar.

Juul did not respond to requests for comment from either CNBC or New York Post.