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Montgomery County Files Lawsuit Against Vaping Company Juul

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA — A lawsuit has been filed in Montgomery County against the vaping company Juul, alleging predatory business practices that seek to turn children into tobacco addicts, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Specifically, the suit points to the company’s marketing tactics which the DA’s office called “false and misleading.” Juul knew minors would become quickly addicted, and they knowingly concealed potential harmful side effects from the public while making billions in profit, officials said.

A total of 32 percent of senior high school students in Montgomery County use vaping products, according to a 2017 study cited by the law firm SMBB, which is assisting the DA’s Office with the legislation.

“Juul has turned a generation of minors into addicts constantly craving a hit of nicotine,” DA Kevin Steele said in a statement Wednesday.

Juul did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Patch on Wednesday afternoon.

A single Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes, Steele added.

Juul is one of the largest e-cigarette companies in the country, capturing almost 70 percent of the market.

The suit names Juul Labs and two Montgomery County-based businesses: Guru KOP at Pantry 1 Food Mart in King of Prussia, and Market 24 in Norristown. Authorities said they illegally sold Juul and other e-cigarette products to minors.

One aim of the suit is to get Juul to pay for the county addiction treatment services, as well as educational outreach programs to “abate the well-documented nuisance Juul has caused within Montgomery County,” the DA’s Office said.

Furthermore, the suit demands payment for health care services for early detection, ongoing testing, and monitoring for detection of illness in those who used the products, as well as funding of a study of the impacts of e-cigarettes by minors.

Juul, which owns roughly 75 percent of the e-cigarette market, is facing similar lawsuits from counties and school districts around the nation. Numerous states have banned or halted the sale of e-cigarettes, including Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

After a grilling from Congress over the summer, Juul stopped all advertising and replaced its CEO. In a statement released after the lawsuit was filed, the company denied its marketing was designed to appeal to underage users or any non-nicotine users.

With reporting from Patch correspondent Lucas Combos

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