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Juul Labs E-Cigarettes and Costs to Counties Class Action

Many class actions have been filed against Juul Labs, Inc. and its related companies because of the addictive effects of vaping or its apparently youth-oriented marketing. This one is different in that the plaintiff is not a person who became addicted to vaping but Kings County in the state of Washington, which complains of the effects and costs suffered by the county.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all counties in the US and its territories that have spent resources addressing, or whose property has been affected by, youth use of Juul products.

The defendants in this case are Juul Labs, Inc. and other companies, including Altria Group, Inc. (which made a large investment in Juul) and Numark, LLC (which had previously made and sold Altria’s own vaping products), among others.

Much has been written about the ill effects of vaping, particularly on teens and youth. Among the problems with Juul’s e-cigarettes are that (1) they contain large doses of nicotine, and (2) the delivery system allows the nicotine to more effectively work its effects on the body.

While rates of tobacco smoking among teens have declines, the rates of vaping have risen quickly. The complaint claims, “One in every four King County high school seniors reported vaping in the past 30 days. Between 2016 and 2018, e-cigarette use increased 82% among King County 10th graders.” Not only are most smoking violations in Seattle’s public schools now for vaping, “over 60% of those violations were for JUUL use specifically.”

Juul has been criticized for seemingly aiming its marketing at teens and young people. For example, the complaint quotes testimony before the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, about the Juul 2015 “Vaporized” ad campaign: “Its imagery featured a vivid color scheme and models in their twenties in poses that researchers note are evocative of behaviors more characteristic of underage teens than mature adults.” It also used types of imagery found in old cigarette ads aimed at teens, offered flavors that appeal to young people, and marketed on social media sites favored by teens and youth.

Where does King County come in? The complaint alleges that vaping is at epidemic levels in the county, with many high school students engaging in it without even knowing it can be harmful. The King County Board of Health finds vaping to be a threat to public health. It has spent a great deal of money to spread information about it and trying to “curb the youth vaping epidemic.”

The complaint envisions that the county will need addiction counselors, prevention education, and addiction treatment options.  

The counts in the complaint include violations of the Washington Public Nuisance Law and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Liability

Most Recent Case Event

Juul Labs E-Cigarettes and Costs to Counties Complaint

October 16, 2019

Many class actions have been filed against Juul Labs, Inc. and its related companies because of the addictive effects of vaping or its apparently youth-oriented marketing. This one is different in that the plaintiff is not a person who became addicted to vaping but Kings County in the state of Washington, which complains of the effects and costs suffered by the county.

juul_labs_youth_vaping_seattle_public_health_compl.pdf

Case Event History

Juul Labs E-Cigarettes and Costs to Counties Complaint

October 16, 2019

Many class actions have been filed against Juul Labs, Inc. and its related companies because of the addictive effects of vaping or its apparently youth-oriented marketing. This one is different in that the plaintiff is not a person who became addicted to vaping but Kings County in the state of Washington, which complains of the effects and costs suffered by the county.

juul_labs_youth_vaping_seattle_public_health_compl.pdf
Tags: Addiction or Costs of Addiction, Addictive Substances, RICO laws