CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Thursday that he is suing e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs.
The lawsuit accuses JUUL of targeting children by using sleek packaging and marketing aimed at kids.
The suit also claims JUUL misrepresents how much nicotine is in its products – covering the harsh nicotine with fun fruity flavors. The flavors include such as mint, menthol, mango and crème brûlée, the AG’s office said.
“If you visit any of the high schools or even middle schools in your neighborhood, they are now referring to the restroom as the vaping room,” Raoul said.
The lawsuit also accuses JUUL of falsely claiming its products can help in smoking cessation efforts.
The suit seeks to forbid JUUL from engaging in “unfair and deceptive practices,” and to hold JUUL accountable for the youth vaping epidemic.
Raoul is seeking a civil penalty of $50,000 for each act deemed deceptive or practice deemed unfair, and another $50,000 for any act or practice ruled to have had the intent to defraud.
CBS 2 reached out to JUUL on Thursday.
The California company replied in part: ““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.”
The company noted that it recently stopped accepting orders for mint-flavored JUUL pods in the U.S., suspended all broadcast, print, and digital advertising, and is working with regulators.
“Our customer base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers and we do not intend to attract underage users,” JUUL said.