E-cigarette giant Juul targeted children with ads on Caoon Network, Nickelodeon, and other websites, the state of Massachusetts charged in a lawsuit, BuzzFeed News repoed.
“Juul knew it was selling to kids,” Attorney General Maura Healey said at a news conference. “They plastered the Internet.”
The suit, which stems from a nearly year-long investigation into the company, alleges Juul targeted underage customers by seeking out young-seeming models for an ad campaign to run on children’s websites, including ones designed to help with schoolwork and homework. Illinois filed suit on similar grounds in December, and California and New York sued the company in November.
“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,” Healey said. “But our investigation showed that that was not true.”
The suit also alleges Juul was negligent in its age-checking practices for online sales, sending e-cigarettes to more than 10,000 addresses in the state between 2015 and 2018.
On Wednesday, Healey referred to the Cult Collective plan as one that “targeted adult cigarette users and promoted the product as a technology innovation for an older crowd.”
Juul spokesman Austin Finan on Wednesday said the company had not yet reviewed the complaint.
“While we have not yet reviewed the complaint, we remain focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes,” he told CNN.
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