A 19-year-old Juul user sued the company Monday for targeting minors and using deceptive marketing practices. Christian Floss filed his complaint in federal court in Chicago, saying he’s addicted to nicotine because of Juul, whose advertising Floss says leaves out critical safety information and copies the approach of tobacco companies that marketed to minors in the past.
Unless the court stops Juul, “the harms will continue as minor children will continue to be exposed to their deceptive youth marketing campaigns,” Floss’ lawyers said in his complaint.
The lawsuit also names Altria and Philip Morris. Altria invested in Juul in December, and is the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris.
“We believe the claims against Altria and Philip Morris USA are meritless and will move to dismiss the case at the appropriate time,” Altria said in a statement. “Altria’s minority stake in Juul provides no basis for liability against Altria or PM USA.”
It’s not the first sign of trouble for Juul and the vaping industry more broadly. The companies have been sued on similar grounds in other courts. San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes in June. What’s more, on Saturday, the CDC reported that almost with lung issues after vaping. Also, the US Surgeon General said in a report in December that e-cigarette use is an epidemic among young people.
Juul didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Juul says on its website that its product is designed to help smokers switch to vaping.
“By accommodating cigarette-like nicotine levels, Juul provides satisfaction to meet the standards of smokers looking to switch from smoking cigarettes,” the website says.