New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has filed a lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc. over the increase in vaping in that state’s youth population.
Balderas said JUUL intentionally and illegally marketed and sold its electronically delivered nicotine products to underage youth, creating an “epidemic of nicotine addiction among young people.”
“In a span of only five years, JUUL has almost singlehandedly reversed the decades of progress made in curbing adolescent and teenage use of nicotine,” the complaint reads. “In June 2015, JUUL released its e-cigarette and accompanied it with an advertising blitz. Part of this blitz included parties in major metropolitan areas, which were staffed by young, attractive models, and at which partygoers could receive a free JUUL sample kit, complete with the e-cigarette and nicotine pods. One such event held in Los Angeles was an all-night slumber party featuring horror movies popular among young people. 1 JUUL purposely pushed its marketing campaign to social media platforms frequented by young people, its intended audience, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter.
The lawsuit is asking for JUUL to pay for the costs that will come from combating the health crisis of e-cigarette and vaping in young people in New Mexico.
“Vaping companies should not be targeting New Mexican children with an addictive product that could compromise their health and safety,” Balderas said. “My office will continue to fight large companies who harm our families and risk the lives of our future generation.”
Filed in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, the lawsuit said JUUL’s misconduct has created the vaping epidemic, which constitutes a public nuisance in the state for which JUUL is liable.
Balderas said his office is asking for restitution, damages, and penalties for the company’s illegal actions, as well as an order forcing JUUL to reduce or remove the harm it has caused in New Mexico.