CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A class-action lawsuit was filed in West Virginia against JUUL Labs, Inc., Altria Group, Inc., and Philip Morris USA, Inc. for targeting teenagers and pre-teens with nicotine-containing products, on Tuesday, August 13t, 2019. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia and says it seeks to hold the defendants accountable for designing and marketing JUUL nicotine-containing products to children.
“Like cigarette manufacturers, JUUL deceptively marketed its products to teenagers and pre-teens,” said Brett Preston, one of the attorneys who filed the case on behalf of the Plaintiffs.
Scott Segal, co-counsel for Plaintiffs who also represented the State of West Virginia against big tobacco, said: “‘Juuling’ by children is a health epidemic that must be stopped. JUUL cannot be permitted to do to our children what big tobacco did to us, our parents and our grandparents.”
“Parents all over West Virginia are finding small nicotine-containing JUUL pods in their children’s backpacks and bedrooms that are meant to resemble USB drives,” Preston said.
Several weeks ago, Juul Labs co-founder James Monsees testified on Capitol Hill that Juul developed its blockbuster vaping device and flavor pods for adult smokers who want to stop and never intended its electronic cigarettes to be adopted by underage teenagers. However, he acknowledged statistics showing “a significant number of underage Americans are using e-cigarettes, including Juul products.”
“Juul Labs isn’t big tobacco,” Monsees told members of a House subcommittee, adding that “combating underage use” is the company’s highest priority.
In response to WOWK 13 News’s story, Juul Labs sent the following statement:
“JUUL Labs is committed to eliminating combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world. Our product is intended to be a viable alternative for current adult smokers only. We do not want non-nicotine users, especially youth, to ever try our product. To this end, we have launched an aggressive action plan to combat underage use as it is antithetical to our mission. To the extent this case alleges otherwise, it is without merit and we will defend our mission throughout this process.”JUUL Labs spokesperson Ted Kwong