A proposed class action alleges Juul Labs, Inc. and Pax Labs, Inc. deceptively marketed their Juul e-cigarette product to minors without disclosing "myriad health problems" associated with using the device.
A proposed class action against Juul Labs, Inc. and Pax Labs, Inc., whose advertising and sale of the popular Juul e-cigarette have been the subject of severallawsuits, has been removed from Florida to California federal court.
Originally filed in November 2018, the lawsuit alleges that Juul and Pax Labs have deceptively marketed their product—a USB-like “vaping” device designed to heat pre-filled cartridges of a nicotine solution to be inhaled like a traditional cigarette—to young people and minors without disclosing “myriad health problems” associated with using the e-cigarette.
The plaintiff, the mother of two minors who began using the device in middle school, claims her sons were unaware that JUULpods, the nicotine cartridges used with the e-cigarette, contained nicotine. Juul’s marketing of the products understated the various health and addiction risks associated with using nicotine products, the case argues, and failed to disclose that Juul e-cigarettes deliver a higher dosage of the addictive substance into the bloodstream at a much faster rate than traditional cigarettes.
Further, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants enticed minors into buying Juul e-cigarettes by selling JUULpods in various “child- and minor-focused flavors” such as “cool mint,” “mango,” and “limited edition cool cucumber,” and by launching an advertising campaign that featured “hip, young users.”
As a result, the case suggests, the number of high school students who used e-cigarettes rose 75 percent between 2017 and September 2018. Citing a Wall Street Journal study, the lawsuit states that most users began vaping because of the flavors offered “and because minors think it is ‘cool.’”
The case further chastises the defendants for their alleged negligence in making the products so easily accessible to minors. The plaintiff says her sons purchased Juul products from PostMates, an online retailer that does not require identification and proof of age when selling the devices. In fact, Juul products are available to minors on the defendants’ own website, the case says, adding the site has “sham restrictions” on the age of site users and online customers.
“JUULpods continue to be marketed in child- and minor-friendly flavors, and in the same addictive and unhealthy form, and without proper warnings and labelling and without reasonable controls to limit their availability to minors,” the complaint reads.
The plaintiff claims she is concerned about the effects the defendants’ products will have on the health of her sons, who have allegedly been unsuccessful in their attempts to quit using the e-cigarettes. Among other forms of relief, the lawsuit looks to require the defendants to provide diagnostic testing for proposed class members and pay for a nicotine use cessation program.