On the heels of our KELOLAND News special report on teen vaping, another state is suing JUUL, the e-cigarette manufacturer.
Minnesota filed a lawsuit Wednesday.
Minnesota is alleging that JUUL has violated multiple state consumer protection laws; including consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison held a news conference early Wednesday to announce the lawsuit against JUUL.
“JUUL has stepped in to carry-on big tobacco’s tradition of deceiving consumers and profiting off of it. In fact they’ve taken it to a whole new level, as a result the rise in e-cigarette use among young people in a few short years has erased the past 10 years of gains we made in fighting youth tobacco,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said.
The attorney general claims Juul has engaged in targeting youth to buy their products.
“They knew exactly what they were doing, they studied to know exactly what they were doing, they knew the harm they were doing and they continued to do it for that simple reason,” Walz said.
Students say they feel preyed upon.
“It feels like I’ve been deceived like the progress I was making wasn’t progress and anyone who has quit any tobacco product knows how incredibly difficult it is and this was a big backward step for me,” a young boy said.
The suit also alleges JUUL developed products with more potent doses of nicotine than cigarettes.
The lawsuit comes amid a nationwide vaping illness epidemic. At least three Minnesotans have died, and nearly 150 others say they’ve gotten sick.
“But my message to JUUL as they’re listening today is, you can hire your attorneys, you will have your day in court, but we will bring the righteous justice of the State of Minnesota down on JUUL,” Walz said.