Illinois Targets Deceptive Marketing to Teens

Illinois Targets Deceptive Marketing to Teens

Another state has come forward and sued Juul Labs, Inc. for the company’s deceptive marketing to teens. Law 360 reports that Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul sued the popular e-cigarette company in state court on Thursday, December 12, alleging that Juul’s advertising targeted minors while misleading consumers about the amounts of nicotine in its products. The lawsuit marks the third state attorney general-led case against Juul.

Deceptive Marketing and Enticing Flavors

Raoul’s lawsuit said that Juul intentionally appealed to underage consumers through its sleek design that resembles a flash drive. He said that the e-cigarette design makes it easy to conceal and use discreetly. Raoul’s suit also noted that the company offered vaporizer pods in fruity and sweet flavors such as mango, crème brûlée, menthol, and mint that masked the amount of nicotine in the solutions.

The Illinois Juul lawsuit said the company led an aggressive marketing campaign with teenagers as a primary target audience. Raoul said Juul’s advertisements flooded social media with images of both celebrities and media personalities using Juul’s e-cigarette devices. Raoul added that while Juul claims its product is a smoking cessation device, the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved it for that use.

“This lawsuit is part of a comprehensive approach to addressing a public health epidemic, particularly one impacting young people,” Raoul said. “Juul has intentionally targeted minors and, after being criticized for its intentionally youthful marketing, marketed its product as a smoking cessation device without having FDA approval to do so.”

Illinois Teen Vaping Epidemic Matches Nationwide Trends

The Illinois Attorney General’s office cites that 27 percent of Illinois 12th graders reported using an electronic cigarette in the last 30 days of 2019. This percentage is almost double the state’s rate of reported adult combustible cigarette smokers. The lawsuit cited the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey that revealed a sharp increase in youth nicotine use. NYTS data revealed that from 2017 to 2018, daily e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 11.7 percent to 20.8 percent. The survey states that 3.05 million American high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2018.

States Sue Juul Labs

The attorneys general in New York and California sued Juul in November, with both lawsuits targeting the company’s strategies for youth outreach. In Washington state, two counties and one school district filed class-action lawsuits against Juul Labs and Altria Group, a major shareholder in the company. North Carolina sued Juul in May citing unfair and deceptive practices that put the state’s teenagers at risk of nicotine addiction.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said that the state’s lawsuit followed an investigation by the attorney general’s office.

“My investigation showed two things,” Stein said. “One, it targeted young people. And two, it misleads the public about the potency of nicotine in its products,” he said. “You only have to walk through any high school parking lot in North Carolina to see how pervasive Juul is among young people in our state.”

Illinois Juul Lawsuit Condemns Late Changes

In the Illinois state lawsuit, Raoul said that Juul only began targeting adult users once the company faced criticism for its marketing tactics targeting teens. The attorney general is asking for a $50,000 civil penalty for each “deceptive or unfair act or practice” and an additional $50,000 for “each act or practice with the intent to defraud.”

Juul launched its “Make the Switch” campaign in 2018. The campaign features ex-smokers who say they used Juul to quit smoking cigarettes. In a statement, Juul Labs said the company’s customer base is “the world’s 1 billion adult smokers” and that they do not intend to attract teenage users. Company spokesman Austin Finan said they will work cooperatively with officials and regulators to combat underage use.

The case is the People of the State of Illinois v. Juul Labs Inc., case number 2019CH14302, in the circuit of Cook County. The state of Illinois is represented by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Assistant Attorneys General Susan Ellis, Greg Grzeskiewicz, Andrea Law, Monique Anawis, Adrien Fernandez, and Jacob Gilbert.

Share

Litigation Updates

Vape Co. to pay $51M over youth ad blitz, mass. AG says

December 16, 2021

December 16, 2021

Vape Co. to pay $51M over youth ad blitz, mass. AG says

Juul Urges Federal Judge to Select School Districts as First Two MDL Bellwether Trials

November 2, 2021

November 2, 2021

Juul Urges Federal Judge to Select School Districts as First Two MDL Bellwether Trials

New Mexico E-Cigarette Shop Hit with $2.5 million Jury Verdict for Defective Lithium-Ion Battery

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

New Mexico E-Cigarette Shop Hit with $2.5 million Jury Verdict for Defective Lithium-Ion Battery

E-Cigarettes, Including JUUL, Under Review and Potentially Banned

September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

E-Cigarettes, Including JUUL, Under Review and Potentially Banned

Chicago Files E-Cigarette Lawsuit Over Flavored Tobacco After New Tobacco Regulations

February 2, 2021

February 2, 2021

Chicago Files E-Cigarette Lawsuit Over Flavored Tobacco After New Tobacco Regulations

Juul, Altria Must Face Public Nuisance and Negligence Claims

October 27, 2020

October 27, 2020

Juul, Altria Must Face Public Nuisance and Negligence Claims

CLIENT REVIEWS

quotation
Tom Lewis

TorHoerman Law was responsible for handling a medical case for our family. I was extremely impressed with their professionalism and ability to react quickly. They also did a nice job keeping us updated with the case throughout the process. This was the first time experiencing a situation like this and Tor Hoerman law did an excellent job from start to finish.

quotation
Jordan Terry

TorHoerman Law is an extraordinary law firm – a firm that truly makes the client’s best interests the primary concern. Their team of personal injury lawyers are experienced, personable, and well versed in a range of litigation areas. They are supported by a dedicated team of staff that are as equally friendly and helpful. I would recommend TorHoerman Law for any personal injury litigation needs.

quotation
Dave Woodley

All of my questions were answered quickly and in a way I could understand. Steve and the entire staff were friendly and professional.

quotation
Jordan Butler

I highly recommend this law firm! The attorneys and staff at THL worked hard, communicated every step of the process, kept me well informed at all times, and exceeded all expectations! The staff is kind, considerate, professional, and very experienced. Look no further, call now!

quotation
Maddy Moeller

Top-notch, hardworking attorneys!

quotation
Karen Hersman

A wonderful and professional legal team. They helped me when I needed expert legal representation! Thank you TorHoerman Law!

quotation
Angel Truesdale

They contacted me the next day. Very nice people!

quotation
Paul Graegin

The firm went above and beyond. Thank you for everything.

quotation
Carie Terry

The attorneys at THL were extremely helpful with the legal aspects of setting up my small business.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE

One of our associates will follow up with you shortly