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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich Sues Juul, Eonsmoke

Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 5:04pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 12:21pm
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Juul advertisement at a convenience story in Tempe on Jan. 8, 2020.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Tuesday sued Juul and another e-cigarette maker, Eonsmoke, alleging the companies targeted youths with advertising and flavored products.

Brnovich wants injunctions to prevent either company from using marketing tactics that target youths or sell flavored vape products. 

He’s also seeking damages. Brnovich wants the companies to hand over profits they’ve made off of vape products and pay up to $10,000 for individual violations of Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act.

“Our two lawsuits allege that what we have is two major players in the vaping industry that have purposefully marketed their products to people that are underage and the youths in our community,” the attorney general said.

It’s the latest case against Juul, the largest company in the vaping market. Similar lawsuits have been filed in California, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

In a statement, Juul said it hasn’t reviewed the lawsuit but pointed out that it’s already doing much of what Brnovich demands. 

Juul announced in October it would stop selling most of its flavored vaping products. That same month, the company also agreed to limits on when and how it can advertise — an effort to curtail marketing tactics criticized for attracting youths.

Brnovich’s lawsuit also comes on the heels of a federal change to the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping products, from 18 to 21.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also announced bans on certain fruit- and mint-flavored products.

Brnovich said obtaining injunctions against Juul will ensure the company doesn’t renege on its voluntary efforts to stop selling flavored vaping products.

The attorney general said he also targeted Eonsmoke because it has sought to take advantage of Juul’s withdrawal of flavored vaping products by selling its own flavored pods.

“Eonsmoke continues to market products like cotton candy, lemonade, mango, sour gummy, kiwi strawberry and other flavors that we allege are designed to attract youths,” Brnovich said.

And Brnovich wants Juul to pay for the damage he says they’ve already caused. Brnovich wants both Juul and Eonsmoke to turn over any profits that were made based on shady marketing strategies, or when customers paid for vaping products that had higher nicotine content than was disclosed.

“It would be like analogous to if someone creates a car accident and they apologize afterwards,” Brnovich said. “You don’t say, ‘Hey, it’s all right. You don’t have to pay for the damages to my car.’”

Forcing Juul and Eonsmoke to be held accountable financially will deter future bad actors, Brnovich said.

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