AG Maura Healey Seeking Damages From Juul For Allegedly Profiting Off ‘Exploitation Of Young People’

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After a year-long investigation into e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, Attorney General Maura Healey has launched a lawsuit against the company, accusing them of directly marketing to underage smokers.

Massachusetts isn’t the first state to sue Juul, but Healey said her lawsuit has uncovered new evidence that allegedly challenges Juul’s claim that its products are for adults who want to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

“[Juul’s] goal was not to get adults to stop smoking, but really to get kids, young people, to start vaping,” Healey told Boston Public Radio on Friday. “It’s clear they tried to recruit social media influencers, celebrities popular with teens, they purchased ad space on websites for kids, like Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Cartoon Network, they ran ads on homework apps, like math apps and other homework apps that kids in middle school were using.”

According to a Boston Globe report published Wednesday, a Juul spokesperson said the company does “not intend to attract underage users” and said it is working to reduce youth e-cigarette use, has stopped advertising, and will not fight the federal government’s ban of flavored vapes.

Healey spoke of one “damning” piece of information uncovered by attorneys in her office that she said shows messages from a Juul customer service representative allegedly telling an underage person in Massachusetts that he should have a Juul product shipped to Quincy instead of Milton, because the legal smoking age in Quincy is only 18.

Healey said the lawsuit seeks “huge damages, huge penalties” against Juul for the harm she said they’ve caused in the state.

“The number of families out there struggling with kids who are addicted to nicotine, getting kicked out of school or off sports teams, we have school districts paying upwards of $50,000 to install sensors in the bathroom to detect if kids are smoking,” she said. “Juul brought home $3.3 billion in one year. That is really at the expense of and through the exploitation of young people.”

During the monthly ‘Ask The Attorney General’ segment, Healey also discussed her support for the Equal Rights Amendment, U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s interference in Roger Stone’s sentencing, and the Trump administration’s efforts to change a “public charge” rule that would allow immigration officials to deny green cards to migrants who use public assistance.





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