Minnesota Chief Law Officer Keith Ellison sued Juul Labs on Wednesday, implicating the e-cigarette maker of unlawfully targeting young individuals with its items to get a brand-new generation addicted to nicotine.
The claim filed in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis seeks to require Juul to stop marketing to young individuals; fund a restorative public education project in Minnesota on the risks of youth vaping; fund vaping cessation programs; reveal all its research on vaping and health; and surrender all make money from its supposedly unlawful conduct.
” They have deceived and misled Minnesota consumers of any ages, developing a public annoyance, and specifically harmed our youths,” Ellison said at a news conference with Gov. Tim Walz. “Juul is by far the dominant e-cigarette maker in America, and it’s growing quickly.”
Ellison declined to put a dollar figure on just how much money the state will seek in damages and civil charges. However he said it might be in line with the state’s landmark $7 billion settlement with the tobacco industry in1998 He stated the San Francisco-based company followed “Big Tobacco’s playbook” of marketing to youths.
Juul released a statement stating it’s “working cooperatively” with chief law officers, regulators and other stakeholders to prevent minor usage of its products and to change adult cigarette smokers away from standard cigarettes. The business said it just recently stopped accepting orders for mint-flavored pods in the U.S. and suspended all its broadcast, print and digital product marketing in the nation.
” Our client base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers and we do not plan to draw in minor users,” the statement stated.
Juul Labs– which is facing a growing number of state and federal investigations into its marketing and sales– is about one-third owned by tobacco huge Altria, the maker of Marlboro and other popular brand names.
The Minnesota claim is separate from lawsuits filed by numerous other states in the last two weeks.
Ellison said Juul created a public nuisance and broke Minnesota’s customer protection laws by developing “items with greater, more potent and more addicting doses of nicotine than standard cigarettes, and other e-cigarettes, then not just failed to disclose that to its customers, however represented that its items were safe alternatives to cigarettes.”
Walz stated Juul knew the damage when it deliberately targeted Minnesota’s kids “for simple greed and easy revenue.” Using the cash Minnesota got under the 1998 settlement, he said, the state brought youth tobacco use method down “till the scourge of vaping” occurred.
The lawyer general’s office worked with 2 outside law firms, Robbins Kaplan and Zimmerman Reed, to represent the state. Robbins Kaplan likewise represented Minnesota in the legendary lawsuits that caused the 1998 settlement, which required the market to turn over countless pages of previously concealed files on its practices.
Walz and Ellison cautioned that the brand-new claim could take years and draw an army of expensive business attorneys, as the 1998 case did.
” And they will utilize their merchant of death playbook to inform us we’re bad parents, to tell us we have bad kids, to tell us that we should have understood,” Walz stated “… But my message to Juul if they’re listening today is, you can hire your attorneys, you will have your day in court, however we will bring the exemplary justice of the state of Minnesota down on Juul.”
Corrects quote in last paragraph. Walz stated “but we will bring the righteous justice of the state of Minnesota down on Juul,” rather than “however we will bring the righteous justice of the state of Minnesota upon you.”