E-cigarette giant Juul accused of marketing to teens in new lawsuit

By Brian Pascus

/ CBS News

Lawmakers accuse Juul of Big Tobacco tactics

The Lake County State's Attorney's Office in Illinois filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Juul Labs that accuses the e-cigarette giant of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act for allegedly using deceptive marketing aimed at teens. The State's Attorney's Office is also seeking punitive damages.

In the lawsuit, the Lake County State's Attorney Michael G. Nerheim also accuses Juul of violating the Prevention of Tobacco Use by Minors and Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products Act by allegedly marketing to teens.

"Just like cigarette companies did in the past, Juul preyed on teens by using advertisements that glamorized their product in order to get kids hooked on nicotine," said Nerheim said in a statement. "It will take years of education and money to right the wrongs and cover the damages caused by Juul's marketing campaigns. To that end, the company should be held accountable for the massive expected cost to undo the damage they created."

Trending News

Juul holds more than 75% of the e-cigarette market. In August 2018, Phillip Morris, one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, purchased a 35% stake in Juul for $12.8 billion. Juul Labs uses e-cigarette technology that includes a rechargeable battery and heating element that works with pre-filled pods of flavored nicotine oil to emit a smokable vapor that users inhale.

The lawsuit argues that beginning in the 1990s, adolescent smoking rates began to fall, only to sharply rise due to a combination of Juul Labs' nicotine delivery technology as well as its innovative social media campaign targeting teens through "advertisements, hashtags, and paid influencers."

File photo of a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette. Eva Hambach / AFP/Getty Images

The lawsuit argues that "Juul sought to fill the void left by big tobacco by creating a new-age electronic cigarette, the 'Juul,' that is so addictive it led to the 'largest ever recorded increase in substance abuse in the past 43 years for any adolescent substance used in the U.S.' By utilizing new technologies and social media, Juul picked up right where the big tobacco companies left off."

In response to the lawsuit, Juul issued a statement saying the company has "never marketed to youth and do not want non-nicotine users, especially youth, to ever try our product." Juul pointed to its exit of Facebook and Instagram as part of their effort to "remove inappropriate social media content generated by others."

"We have no higher priority than to prevent youth usage of our products which is why we have taken aggressive, industry leading actions to combat youth usage," Juul's statement said. "We strongly advocate for Tobacco 21 legislation, we stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol based flavored Juul pods to our traditional retail store partners, enhanced our online age-verification process and strengthened our retailer compliance program with over 2,000 secret shopper visits per month. "

The lawsuit claims that between 2016 and 2018 "those who reported using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days increased 40% among 8th graders, 82% among 10th graders, and 72% among 12th graders."

The Lake County State's Attorney's Office contends that Juul deliberately engaged in deceptive marketing practices that misrepresented the non-addictive claims of Juul products, its nicotine level, its nicotine content strength, and that its products are an alternative path to quit traditional cigarette smoking. The Lake County Office argues Juul engaged in marketing that specifically targeted minors.

According to the lawsuit, the e-cigarette industry had a 2016 market revenue of $7.1 billion, and the e-cigarette industry as a whole expected to see its valuation rise to $44.61 billion by 2023. Juul is valued at $38 billion.

Studies have shown Juul's electronic cigarette exposes users to nicotine at a much higher rate than traditional cigarettes, while there have been multiple reports of teens suffering from addiction to nicotine after using e-cigarette pods for extended periods and experiencing sudden health emergencies with their respiratory systems.

The lawsuit alleges adolescent nicotine use from e-cigarettes presents the risk of developing major depressive disorder, agoraphobia, and panic disorder, while the vapor emitted from this technology includes 31 harmful chemical carcinogens and respiratory irritants. The Lake County State's Attorney's Office contends Juul failed to disclose that its products contained these adverse health elements.

vaping-juul-cartridges-620.jpg
Juul e-cigarette cartridges. CBS News

First published on August 13, 2019 / 6:23 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

US-INDUSTRY-TOBACCO-HEALTH-TEENS vaping-juul-cartridges-620.jpg US-INDUSTRY-TOBACCO-HEALTH-TEENS

Juul accused of marketing to teens in new lawsuit

Juul issued a statement saying the company has "never marketed to youth and do not want non-nicotine users, especially youth, to ever try our product."

7M ago US-INDUSTRY-TOBACCO-HEALTH-TEENS istock000060422752medium.jpg

Controlling blood pressure may help ward off dementia

Keeping your blood pressure under control "may be a key to your future brain health," researchers say

22M ago istock000060422752medium.jpg Jay-Z

NFL and Jay-Z join forces for entertainment and social activism

The league will use the rapper's company to "strengthen community through music and the NFL's Inspire Change Initiative"

56M ago Jay-Z Trump

Trump makes his case for reelection in Pennsylvania

"In 2020, we're running, so you'd better get out there and make sure we win," the president told his crowd at a Pennsylvania plant

1H ago Trump Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift sends fan $6,000 for tuition

"Ayesha, get your learn on, girl!" Swift wrote with the money transfer

1H ago Taylor Swift Trump

Trump makes his case for reelection in Pennsylvania

"In 2020, we're running, so you'd better get out there and make sure we win," the president told his crowd at a Pennsylvania plant

1H ago Trump Congress Schumer

Schumer says border wall money should be used to fight gun violence

The Senate minority leader will make a formal request to redirect money that would be used to build a border wall

3H ago Congress Schumer ap-18181692026985.jpg

California counties sue to block Trump immigration rule

The rule would make it easier for the government to reject green cards and temporary visas for legal immigrants who use public benefits

4H ago ap-18181692026985.jpg Trump

Trump touts American energy at Pennsylvania plant

Critics claim the plant will significantly contribute to air pollution

2H ago Trump statue-of-liberty-sunset-silhouette-promo.jpg

Trump's top immigration official reworks Statue of Liberty poem

"Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge," said Ken Cuccinelli

5H ago statue-of-liberty-sunset-silhouette-promo.jpg BMW Q2 Net Profit Drops 29 Percent On Higher Technology Spend

Man pushes BMW into river because he wanted a Jaguar

He was apparently so upset that he deliberately pushed the luxury vehicle into a canal

3H ago BMW Q2 Net Profit Drops 29 Percent On Higher Technology Spend Russia Rocket Explosion

Evacuation reports spark confusion after Russia nuclear accident

Blast in far north left 5 Russian scientists and 2 troops dead, and is believed to be linked to experimental nuclear-powered missile technology

6H ago Russia Rocket Explosion US-ECONOMY-NYSE-STOCKS-MARKETS

Stock market surges after U.S. delays some China tariffs

The Dow jumped more than 400 points after tariffs were delayed on products like cell phones and gaming consoles

7H ago US-ECONOMY-NYSE-STOCKS-MARKETS Christmas ornaments made in China are se

U.S. delays some China tariffs, cancels others

Trump administration is pushing back new levies on items including laptops, cell phones, shoes and holiday lights

2H ago Christmas ornaments made in China are se In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 file photo, fishing boats are seen in front of oil tankers on the Persian Gulf waters, south of the Strait of Hormuz, off the shores of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

Iran says U.S.-led naval coalition raises "risk of combustion" in Gulf

Trump admin is pushing allies to join a flotilla to keep Iran from interfering in the flow of crude oil out of the Persian Gulf

7H ago In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 file photo, fishing boats are seen in front of oil tankers on the Persian Gulf waters, south of the Strait of Hormuz, off the shores of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.  Jay-Z

NFL and Jay-Z join forces for entertainment and social activism

The league will use the rapper's company to "strengthen community through music and the NFL's Inspire Change Initiative"

56M ago Jay-Z Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift sends fan $6,000 for tuition

"Ayesha, get your learn on, girl!" Swift wrote with the money transfer

1H ago Taylor Swift Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo a longtime sexual harasser, several women allege

At least nine women detailed allegations to AP about the opera legend spanning three decades. Some say he retaliated if spurned; he says charges are "inaccurate" and "painful"

1H ago Plácido Domingo FILE PHOTO: Shari Redstone, vice-chair of CBS Corporation and Viacom, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho

CBS and Viacom agree to $30 billion media merger

Once married, then divorced, now to be reunited: The two companies, both controlled by Shari Redstone, hope bigger will be better the second time around as other media giants consolidate

updated 14M ago FILE PHOTO: Shari Redstone, vice-chair of CBS Corporation and Viacom, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals

Bebe Rexha calls out music executive for ageism

The singer said she's tired of women being called "hags" as they age while men are labeled "sexy" as they get older.

7H ago 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals rtx2z6n2.jpg

Apple lifted by delay in U.S. tariffs on China

With the tech company set to roll out its latest iPhones in September, higher levies on Chinese imports would hurt

1H ago rtx2z6n2.jpg Amazon Echo

Teens forced to work overtime to make Amazon devices: report

Amazon said it's investigating a report that Foxconn allegedly made Chinese teens to work overtime, violating laws

Aug 12 Amazon Echo hearing-aid-device-promo.jpg

Hearing aids: You ain't heard nothing yet

Only about 20% of adults with hearing loss actually use hearing aids, but advances in technology and a new law may drive down prices – and be music to consumers' ears

Aug 11 hearing-aid-device-promo.jpg Apple iPhone XS and XS Max

Apple offers $1 million reward to anyone who can hack an iPhone

Apple is expanding its bug bounty program — and it's no longer invite-only

Aug 9 Apple iPhone XS and XS Max cbsn-fusion-are-video-games-at-center-of-shooting-controversy-thumbnail-1906404-640x360.jpg

Video games don't make you a mass shooter, expert says

"When it comes to actual serious criminal violence, there's virtually no evidence that video games matter," Virginia Tech professor James Ivory told CBS News

Aug 9 cbsn-fusion-are-video-games-at-center-of-shooting-controversy-thumbnail-1906404-640x360.jpg US-astronomy-meteor-Perseid

How to watch the Perseid meteor shower peak Monday night

Anyone trying to watch the Perseid meteor shower should try to stay away from bright city lights

Aug 12 US-astronomy-meteor-Perseid coffee-cup-promo.jpg

Almanac: Instant coffee

On August 11, 1903, Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato received a U.S. patent for his method of making instant coffee in tablet form

Aug 11 coffee-cup-promo.jpg ap16153622242521.jpg

Climate change and overfishing increasing mercury levels in fish

Climate change "is not just about what the weather is like in 10 years," said researcher Amina Schartup. "It's also about what's on your plate in the next five."

Aug 10 ap16153622242521.jpg 1000-1.jpg

India plants 220 million trees in a single day

More than a million people in Northern India came together Friday to combat climate change

Aug 9 1000-1.jpg chenrobyl-vodka.jpg

Scientists distill vodka from Chernobyl's radioactive zone

Shots, anyone?

Aug 9 chenrobyl-vodka.jpg US-INDUSTRY-TOBACCO-HEALTH-TEENS

Juul accused of marketing to teens in new lawsuit

Juul issued a statement saying the company has "never marketed to youth and do not want non-nicotine users, especially youth, to ever try our product."

7M ago US-INDUSTRY-TOBACCO-HEALTH-TEENS istock000060422752medium.jpg

Controlling blood pressure may help ward off dementia

Keeping your blood pressure under control "may be a key to your future brain health," researchers say

22M ago istock000060422752medium.jpg teen-vaping-moenc-1564072780-142308-blog-teen-vaping-e-cigarette.png

More teens hospitalized for lung damage after vaping

Smokers usually don't develop lung cancer until their older adult years – how are teens getting lung damage from vapes already?

3H ago teen-vaping-moenc-1564072780-142308-blog-teen-vaping-e-cigarette.png dentures.jpg

Dentures found lodged inside man's throat 8 days after surgery

After the dentures were removed, he remained in the hospital for six more days and suffered a few more complications before healing

updated 32M ago dentures.jpg 0813-ctm-feresdoctrine-crawford-1910843-640x360.jpg

Soldier with cancer fights to change law shielding military from malpractice suits

Army Sgt. Richard Stayskal alleges that military doctors knew about a tumor growing in his lung — but said nothing

10H ago 0813-ctm-feresdoctrine-crawford-1910843-640x360.jpg rtx2z6n2.jpg

Apple lifted by delay in U.S. tariffs on China

With the tech company set to roll out its latest iPhones in September, higher levies on Chinese imports would hurt

1H ago rtx2z6n2.jpg FILE PHOTO: Shari Redstone, vice-chair of CBS Corporation and Viacom, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho

CBS and Viacom agree to $30 billion media merger

Once married, then divorced, now to be reunited: The two companies, both controlled by Shari Redstone, hope bigger will be better the second time around as other media giants consolidate

updated 14M ago FILE PHOTO: Shari Redstone, vice-chair of CBS Corporation and Viacom, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho Pasta variation

Unlimited pasta "for life" at Olive Garden for $500

The $500 lifetime pass could pay for itself after 45 heaping helpings of pasta at the restaurant chain.

6H ago Pasta variation US-ECONOMY-NYSE-STOCKS-MARKETS

Stock market surges after U.S. delays some China tariffs

The Dow jumped more than 400 points after tariffs were delayed on products like cell phones and gaming consoles

7H ago US-ECONOMY-NYSE-STOCKS-MARKETS Christmas ornaments made in China are se

U.S. delays some China tariffs, cancels others

Trump administration is pushing back new levies on items including laptops, cell phones, shoes and holiday lights

2H ago Christmas ornaments made in China are se 0813-cbsn-heatherhayercharlottesville-1911324-640x360.jpg

Crime

Mom of Charlottesville victim speaks out

It's been two years since the violence at a white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia ignited a national discussion of racism and hate in America. Counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed and dozens were injured. Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, is now urging Congress to pass anti-hate-crime legislation in her daughter's name, and she joined CBSN to discuss it.

updated 9M ago 07:01 0813-cbsn-heatherhayercharlottesville-1911324-640x360.jpg 0813-cbsn-daytonshooterupdate-1911263-640x360.jpg

Police show new video of Dayton gunman

Authorities in Dayton, Ohio, showed new video of the gunman who killed nine and injured 27 others. They said the gunman managed to shoot 26 people in 32 seconds.

updated 52M ago 19:40 0813-cbsn-daytonshooterupdate-1911263-640x360.jpg Dayton, Ohio, shooting

Police divided on whether Dayton gunman targeted sister

Authorities have been trying to piece together a motive and other factors that led to the mass shooting

updated 55M ago Dayton, Ohio, shooting jeffrey-epstein-03.png

2 guards placed on leave, warden reassigned after Epstein's death

The announcement comes as the Department of Justice's inspector general and the FBI look into Epstein's apparent suicide

2H ago jeffrey-epstein-03.png 0813-miller-domingo-lane-1911226-640x360.jpg

Plácido Domingo accused of sexual harassment

The Philadelphia Orchestra has canceled an invitation to have opera legend Plácido Domingo appear at its opening-night concert. This follows an Associated Press report that nine women have accused Domingo of trying to pressure them into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and sometimes punishing them professionally if they refused. Domingo says the claims are inaccurate. CBS News' Hilary Lane reports.

updated 59M ago 01:46 0813-miller-domingo-lane-1911226-640x360.jpg US-astronomy-meteor-Perseid

How to watch the Perseid meteor shower peak Monday night

Anyone trying to watch the Perseid meteor shower should try to stay away from bright city lights

Aug 12 US-astronomy-meteor-Perseid ebbdvtjx4aacxou.jpg

A meteor large enough to see from Earth just hit Jupiter

The rare moment was captured with nothing more than a backyard telescope in Texas

Aug 9 ebbdvtjx4aacxou.jpg cbsn-fusion-saturn-rings-disappearing-nasa-2019-08-06-thumbnail-1906783-640x360.jpg

Saturn's rings are disappearing

NASA's Cassini spacecraft ended its historic exploration of Saturn in 2017 and, slowly but surely, scientists are learning more about the ringed planet. Data from the 13-year mission helped scientists determine Saturn's rings are much newer than the planet itself — and they're disappearing.

Aug 6 00:42 cbsn-fusion-saturn-rings-disappearing-nasa-2019-08-06-thumbnail-1906783-640x360.jpg cbsn-fusion-spacex-falcon-9-rocket-launch-today-2019-08-06-thumbnail-1906760-640x360.jpg

SpaceX successfully launches rocket

Three years after a spectacular on-pad explosion that destroyed an Israeli communications satellite, SpaceX boosted a Falcon 9 rocket into orbit Tuesday night. The satellite will provide broadcast, broadband and high-speed data services across Africa. Watch the launch here.

Aug 7 08:45 cbsn-fusion-spacex-falcon-9-rocket-launch-today-2019-08-06-thumbnail-1906760-640x360.jpg spacex-launch-today-2019-08-06-d.png

SpaceX launches rocket with communications satellite on board

Three years after an on-pad explosion, SpaceX got a second Israeli satellite into orbit Thursday night

Aug 6 spacex-launch-today-2019-08-06-d.png 1slide-the-worst-movies-of-2019-ranked.jpg

The worst movies of 2019

The worst films of the year star big name actors, including Keanu Reeves, Anne Hathaway, and Chris Hemsworth.

Aug 9 51 photos 1slide-the-worst-movies-of-2019-ranked.jpg jake-barlow-oddities-and-curiosities-expo-39.jpg

The Oddities & Curiosities Expo

A traveling exhibition of gothic and occult art, sideshow performers, and bizarre specimens stopped outside Chicago, where CBS News photographer Jake Barlow took in the odd sights

Jul 22 24 photos jake-barlow-oddities-and-curiosities-expo-39.jpg gettyimages-486106944.jpg

New York's Central Park

America's first major landscaped public park, the 840-acre park in Manhattan welcomes more than 37 million visitors every year

Jul 21 25 photos gettyimages-486106944.jpg Charles Manson

Manson Family murders: The terrifying story in pictures

A look at the cult slayings that shocked – and scared – America

Jul 3 44 photos Charles Manson star-trek.jpg

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

Jun 24 30 photos star-trek.jpg wright-911-call-1567128-640x360.jpg

Popular

NBA star's desperate call for help

Listen to former NBA star Lorenzen Wright’s frantic 911 call made on the night in 2010 that he was murdered. Wright was unable to give his name or location as 11 gunshots are heard before the call cuts out. It took days for authorities to learn that it was Wright who made the call.

Jul 27 00:40 wright-911-call-1567128-640x360.jpg wright-murder-plot-1567134-640x360.jpg

The alleged plot to kill Lorenzen Wright

Prosecutor Paul Hagerman reads an affidavit about informant Jimmie Martin who claims he helped plan the murder of Lorenzen Wright. Martin is Sherra Wright’s cousin. Martin claims he wasn’t there the night of the murder, but says he did help clean up the crime scene.

Jul 27 01:37 wright-murder-plot-1567134-640x360.jpg lulu-arrest-1683015-640x360.jpg

Body cam video captures murder-for-hire suspect's arrest

On July 23, 2015, detectives with the Montgomery County Texas Constable's Office arrive at the Houston gym owned by Ramon Sosa and his wife, Lulu, to arrest Lulu on suspicion of plotting her husband's death.

Jul 20 03:29 lulu-arrest-1683015-640x360.jpg leibel-kasian-1674771-640x360.jpg

Sneak peek: Hollywood Horror Story

A wealthy Hollywood producer is accused of murdering his girlfriend. Was he following the plot of his frightening novel? Correspondent Maureen Maher investigates Saturday, July 13 at 10/9c on CBS.

Jul 13 03:37 leibel-kasian-1674771-640x360.jpg kasian-911-call-1674933-640x360.jpg

A mother's desperate 911 call

When Olga Kasian did not hear from her daughter Iana after several days, she began repeatedly calling 911. Concerned about Iana's well-being and her recent C-section, Kasian desperately asks police — through the help of an Russian interpreter — to enter the home her daughter shared with boyfriend Blake Leibel.

Jul 20 01:14 kasian-911-call-1674933-640x360.jpg