Ferguson’s lawsuit asserts JUUL dedicated tens of 1000’s of violations of the the Washington State Shopper Safety Act.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Legal professional Basic Bob Ferguson filed a shopper safety lawsuit on Wednesday towards e-cigarette firm JUUL.
The lawsuit property that the corporate violated the state’s Shopper Safety Act by designing and advertising and marketing its merchandise to enchantment to minors and deceiving customers concerning the addictiveness of its merchandise.
JUUL additionally failed to satisfy Washington state’s tobacco vapor product licensing necessities, Ferguson lawsuit asserts. The lawsuit claims that each sale of a JUUL machine from August 2016 till April 2018 was illegal in Washington state.
“JUUL put income earlier than individuals,” Ferguson’s workplace stated in a news release. “Pushing unfair and misleading advertising and marketing methods interesting to youth, the corporate fueled a staggering rise in vaping amongst teenagers. JUUL’s conduct reversed many years of progress preventing nicotine habit, and so they should be held accountable.”
Advertising and marketing targets underage customers, Ferguson’s workplace says
When JUUL launched its merchandise in 2015, it employed the “Vaporized” marketing campaign on main social media platforms, together with Twitter, Instagram and Fb, Ferguson’s workplace stated. The marketing campaign featured younger fashions with shiny colours.
The flavors featured within the marketing campaign included mango, “Cool Cucumber,” “Cool Mint,” and “Crème Brule,” which made the merchandise extra appleaing to youthful prospects, Ferguson’s workplace stated.
Ferguson’s workplace stated the corporate additionally inspired its social media followers to voluntarily put up about its merchandise, hiring “model ambassadors” chosen for his or her affect on social media platforms. These model ambassadors have been recruited due to their established following as trendsetters for youth.
JUUL’s ads usually copied themes from conventional cigarette ads that have been later banned for his or her enchantment to youth, Ferugson’s workplace stated. It used sharp patterns, shiny colours and younger fashions, mimicking many years of comparable adverts utilized by tobacco manufacturers.
“JUUL knew its advertising and marketing techniques fueled underage use of its merchandise, but took little to no motion to cease it,” Ferguson’s workplace wrote within the launch. “A 2018 research of JUUL’s Twitter viewers confirmed that 80 p.c of its followers have been between 13 and 20 years outdated. Many teenage customers voluntarily posted about JUUL merchandise, together with pictures and movies displaying underage use of the merchandise.”
JUUL downplayed addictiveness of product
Ferguson’s workplace stated JUUL’s preliminary advertising and marketing of its merchandise averted mentioning that they contained nicotine. The corporate solely started disclosing the truth that its merchandise contained nicotine when the federal authorities required that disclosure.
JUUL entered the market with a 5% focus of nicotine, in comparison with most e-cigarette liquids in the marketplace that had 1 to 2% nicotine focus, Ferguson’s workplace stated. Three p.c nicotine focus was thought of excessive and meant for individuals accustomed to smoking two packs of cigarettes per day.
JUUL illegally distributed product for years with no license
For practically two years, each single JUUL sale in Washington state was illegal as a result of firm’s failure to comply with primary licensing necessities, Ferguson’s workplace stated.
In August 2016, Washington imposed particular necessities for the distribution and supply of vapor merchandise into the state. The corporate was absolutely conscious of the deadline for finishing its licensing for JUUL merchandise, corresponding with state regulators concerning the software course of, Ferguson’s workplace stated.
JUUL failed to finish the applying course of and didn’t acquire the required licenses till April 9, 2018, in keeping with Ferguson’s workplace.
Tens of 1000’s of Shopper Safety Act violations
Ferguson’s lawsuit asserts JUUL dedicated tens of 1000’s of violations of the the Washington State Shopper Safety Act, which prohibits unfair and misleading enterprise practices.
The Shopper Safety Act permits a most penalty of $2,000 per violations. By regulation, penalties go to the state basic fund.
Ferguson’s lawsuit additionally seeks the give up of illegal income and asks the court docket to order JUUL to stop its “illegal advertising and marketing techniques.”
On Aug. 13, Ferguson filed a separate lawsuit towards a web-based vaping retailer for promoting and delivery tobacco merchandise in Washington with out verifying the ages of its prospects.