On Tuesday, DC Attorney General Karl Racine announced that they are going to join the lawsuit against Juul. He stated that the company’s ads went after minors, and viral marketing lead to the rise of vaping in the US. The lawsuit also alleges that Juul misrepresented the nicotine levels of its flavor pods. In May, North Carolina became the first state to sue Juul, the nation’s largest e-cigarette brand based in San Francisco, and last week, California and New York filed a similar lawsuit.
The lawsuit will probably result in stricter rules against e-cigarette companies such as Juul and tighter regulations by the FDA.
Juul, a multi-billion-dollar company, founded in 2015, now controls two-thirds of the e-cigarette market in the US and was previously facing investigations by the congress and the FDA.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the cases filed against Juul and what will be the aftermath of these lawsuits, so let’s get started.
Juul introduced their e-cigarettes in the market in 2015, at that time, the FDA didn’t finalize the regulatory policies for e-cigarettes, so Juul and other e-cigarette makers had a field day. They didn’t have to file for applications to the FDA. This led to substantial growth in the number of vapers, with more than 27.5% high school students reporting that they used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days. And due to the recent outbreak of vaping related deaths, e-cigarettes most prominently Juul came under heavy scrutiny from the authorities. In late December 2018, Altria Group maker of Marlboro announced that they bought a 35% stake of Juul for $12.8 billion.
The recent lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of the District of Columbia Karl Racine alleges that Juul previously,
- Claimed that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to traditional smoking without any evidence.
- Failed to set-up a foolproof age verification system on their online store.
- Was unable to introduce programs to deter underage use, such as “secret shopper.”
DC also sent subpoenas to eight other vaping companies regarding information about their marketing and business practices.
Due to the lawsuits and pressure, Juul has halted its U.S. advertisements and stopped the sale of almost all of its flavor pods, only mint and tobacco are being sold now. Juul also replaced the CEO of their company, closed their social media accounts, and deployed an age-restrictive verification system on their website.
Trump administration in September considered banning the flavored e-cigarettes but then reconsidered the ban due to backlash, but in light of the new events, there is a possibility that these lawsuits might result in a ban on e-cigarettes, which can be both good and bad. Good because underage use would surely drop if e-cigarettes are made illegal and aren’t available on the market.
The bad news, however, is that the ban will decrease the sales of smoke shops to a remarkable level, as e-cigarettes and their flavors have the highest demand in the market. Vape and smoke shop owners organized a rally outside the Whitehouse with the hashtag #WeVapeWeVote.
It will take some time for the dust to settle down and for us to know what will be the result of all the lawsuits filed against Juul and other e-cigarettes.
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