Pennsylvania to sue Juul

Someone smoking an e-cig
GABBY JONES/BLOOMBERG VIA Getty Images

Pennsylvania is officially suing Juul, the e-cigarette giant that is being blamed for the increase in e-cig use among adolescents and teens.

The state joins New York, Massachusetts, California and other states who have recorded vaping-related deaths and illnesses. It was reported that both Bucks and Montgomery counties have sued.

Inquirer.com reported that Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit. The suit alleges that the Juul misled customers about the addictive power of the vaping pods and misled them about the health risks. The suit also alleges that Juul’s items are improperly marketed.

Shapiro said in a statement to Inquirer.com, “Juul knowingly targeted young people with tactics similar to the tobacco companies’ playbook.”

Shapiro added, “There is no proof these e-cigarettes are safe and until there is, we need to get Juul products off shelves and out of the hands of young people.”

The suit is seeking a statewide ban on all of Juul’s products, including the tobacco flavored ones. Pennsylvania hopes if they do not get the full ban, that they can still restrict sales of flavored products, except for those that are tobacco flavored.

Juul has said in various statements that adults are their target audience, not underage customers.

According to the CDC, 37 percent of lung injuries related to vaping have occurred in patients ages 18 to 24 years old.

“While we have not yet reviewed the complaint, we remain focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and convert adult smokers from combustible cigarettes,” Austin Finan, a spokesman for Juul, said in a statement.

The CDC reports that as of Jan. 21, 2020, there have been a total of 2,711 hospitalized sized e-cig, vaping, or product use-associated lung injury cases or deaths have been reported across the nation.

There have been 60 deaths as a result of these illnesses. The deaths have been confirmed in 27 states as well as the District of Columbia.

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