CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office announces that it settled a lawsuit with e-cigarette company Juul for $7.9 million.
The Attorney General says Juul Labs Inc. violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act by targeting advertisements toward underage users.
According to the lawsuit, Juul participated in “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the manufacturing, designing, selling, marketing, promoting and distributing of e-cigarettes.” Attorney General Morrisey notes that the company heavily used social media advertisements featuring online influencers, fashion bloggers, and celebrities with mostly teenage fans.
The Attorney General says 14.3% of West Virginia high school students used e-cigarettes at least one day per month in 2017. That beats the national average of 13.2%. In addition, the overall nicotine amount in a Juul pod is equal to “1.72 packs of cigarettes,” according to Attorney General Morrisey.
“This settlement puts companies like Juul in check to not copy big tobacco’s playbook and gear marketing strategies toward underage people,” Attorney General Morrisey says. “In Juul’s case, we have alleged it has deceived consumers about its nicotine strength, misrepresented the nicotine equivalency of its products to traditional cigarettes and understated the risks of addiction that occur with such powerful levels of nicotine.”