This week, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against electronic cigarette (“e-cigarette”) brand JUUL accusing it of targeting youth in its sales and downplaying the harm its products cause. According to the National Youth Tobacco survey, nearly 4 million kids are currently use e-cigarettes that contain nicotine, and this number could be even higher among those who have not reported use. In reference and response to the new e-cigarette epidemic in youth, the Department of Health and Human Services Chronic Disease and Injury Section Chief, Dr. Susan Kansagra, said, “I am incredibly disturbed by what we are seeing in e-cigarette use in North Carolina. In a span of 6 years we’ve seen a 900% increase in high school students reporting they are using e-cigarettes.”
Attorney General Stein has said he shared information from his investigation with other states and would not be surprised if they followed North Carolina’s lead. He also reported to Reuters that he is requesting the North Carolina State Court to require JUUL to limit the flavors sold in the state of North Carolina and delete customer data for those below 18. JUUL has taken its own precautions to attempt to stop marketing towards young people, but these actions are voluntary and can be stopped at any time. JUUL has 75 percent of the overall e-cigarette market.