Massachusetts is suing Juul, the infamous vape company at the center of numerous controversies.
The state is arguing that Juul has been advertising their product to children through online ads that appear on child-centric websites. Juul and its parent company Pax Labs are named as defendants.
Which Kid Sites Did Juul Advertise On?
The ads appeared on kid websites designed for homework help, study aids for students and even the Nickelodeon website. The ads depict young, attractive models using Juuls.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey stated that this suit isn’t appearing out of nowhere: it’s the result of over a year of research into Juul’s business practices.
Recently, the legal age required to purchase tobacco products was increased from 18 to 21. This rule came about to fight companies like Juul and other “youth-focused” vape producers.
Juul claimed they were a company that wanted to help adults figure out how to quit smoking. The truth is much darker.
States Suing Juul
“Over and over we’ve heard Juul say that it came to market to offer a device that was an alternative to cigarettes, and in fact would even help adults switch and stop smoking,” Attorney General Healey stated. “But our investigation showed that that was not true.”
Massachusetts isn’t the only state taking aim at Juul’s business practices. In November, California and New York both sued the company on similar grounds. Illinois followed in December, filing a suit against Juul and Pax Labs.
However, Massachusetts’ suit has something the others don’t: it includes documentation of Juul’s internal advertising strategy.
Juul Intentionally Advertised to Young People
According to the lawsuit, Juul tried appeal to the “cool crowd.” They purposely hired young models to depict Juul as a “cool, cutting-edge tech lifestyle product that advances (a user’s) image.”
The documents describe the models as “New York trendsetters who embody the Juul brand and speak to millennial consumers.”
The suit alleges that even Juul employees voiced concern. They thought the models in the campaign looked too young to legally purchase tobacco products.