Three young adults in the U.S. state of Wisconsin have filed a federal class action lawsuit against e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs.
According to the lawsuit, the young adults in question allege that they were led to take up vaping through Juul’s social media and their lies about nicotine levels.
This lawsuit is the latest entry in an ongoing litigation cabaret show featuring Juul and Altria Group as the bad guys. The young adults, one being a teenager, claim that the company’s deceptive marketing was directly targeted to their age groups with the intention of addicting younger generations to nicotine. While Juul has openly admitted that they made mistakes with their previous marketing campaigns using social media influencers, the claim that vaping was directly targeted to children is still unfounded and not yet proven.
Truly, the only academic evidence that has been formulated are narrative analyses about how certain social media-oriented marketing campaigns for Juul’s early days in 2015 emulated more of a lifestyle brand than a recreational nicotine inhalant product. Since, including with the ascension of current CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, the company has done a major rebranding to make Juul products seem like an adult-targeted alternative to smoking.
The lawsuit, which is 42-pages long, use examples of Juul’s “#Vaporized” campaign that relied heavily on youthful 20-somethings posing with early-model devices on Instagram and Twitter. The lawyers for this lawsuit additionally cite research that compares the messaging and imagery of the campaign with previous tobacco company marketing campaigns, attempting to demonstrate similarities. However, the research that they cite has been disputed by tobacco control and tobacco harm reduction academics who say that the methodology of the studies on Juul’s marketing were lazy and lacking in scientific rigor.
Legal counsel, especially for this latest lawsuit, still feel as if the company hasn’t done enough and that the plaintiffs are owed some sort of compensation and recuperation of damages. This isn’t likely to stand in court, though.
Right now, product liability claims filed against Juul Labs are expansive. Truly, many people lost count of the lawsuits against Juul brought by concerned parents and young adults at the behest of ambulance-chasing personal injury attorneys looking for large paydays.
Most product liability lawsuits against Juul are either dismissed as excessive or are wrapped into claims that have greater chance of action, especially depending on the venue in which these lawsuits are filed. Unlike lawsuits filed by governments and Attorneys General, the product liability claims all rely on a few basic talking points that are only verified in legal precedence set by legal jurisdictions that are more political than others.
This is a developing story.