MA sues Juul over e-cigarette marketing tactics

MA sues Juul over e-cigarette marketing tactics

In a statement Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said, "The information that we uncovered in our investigation demonstrates Juul's intent - they didn't accidentally create an advertising campaign with young and attractive people - that's what they were going for all along". "Our suit sheds fresh light on the organization's aim to target young men and women, and we're likely to make them pay to the public health crisis they caused in MA".

"This is the first real window into JUUL's marketing plan and what it meant to do to target our kids", Healey said at a news conference, pointing behind to images of young people holding the company's devices.

Juul did not respond to Adweek's request for further comments.

"Somewhere along the path towards our existing civilization of post-post-post-ad-infinitum irony, e-cigarette giant Juul has managed to mutate to a semi-sentient meme representing the worst in idle" millennial" advertising, peddling still-unknown health dangers below the nebulous guise of fashionable, trendy options for your own parents' tobacco goods.

It also allegedly recruited celebrities and social media influencers with large numbers of underage followers, such as Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevigne, and Luka Sabbat who is an 18-year-old considered to be "the internet's coolest teenager", said the lawsuit.

While the Vaporized campaign was pulled after only six months and Juul's co-founders have since said it was a mistake, Healey's complaint suggests Juul's dubious relationship with underage customers continued well after it ended.

According to Healey's 66-page complaint filed in Superior Court, JUUL purchased advertisements on educational websites geared toward middle school and high school students, such as coolmath.com and socialstudiesforkids.com.

Minnesota, New York, Illinois, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and the District of Colombia have all sued Juul ever since the Food and Drug Administration began cracking down on e-cigarettes.

JUUL employed a lax online age-verification process, which allowed online users to make multiple attempts to enter "alternate" addresses and JUUL would allow people to "pass" even if the address didn't match government database records exactly, the lawsuit said.

More concrete violations were made concerning JUUL's selling directly to underage consumers, failing to verify the age and identity of many consumers, and otherwise distributing products to those who were prohibited by law from buying them. JUUL also advertised on sites for high school students looking at universities, including collegeconfidential.com. MA says the company specifically targeted "celebrities with large numbers of teenage fans", such as Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

"Policymakers must understand how certain brands have driven e-cigarette use and carve out policies that address restrictions by age and location as well the high nicotine concentrations in these products if we hope to reduce these prevalence rates", Hrywna concluded.

Her office alleges, among other things, that the company illegally advertised, sold and shipped thousands of e-cigarettes to names and addresses it couldn't age verify in MA.

The lawsuit also alleges that Juul's customer support agents proposed potential clients about the best way best to prevent minimum lawful earnings limitation requirements. For example, e-cigarette prevalence almost doubled among black students when Juul use was included.

For her part, Healey said the lawsuit is "more than just about money, though we do need money for treatment".

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