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Minnesota Attorney General leads state’s case against Juul Labs over unlawful targeting of kids

March 29, 2023 by  

Juul Labs faced accusations from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Tuesday, who personally opened the state’s case against the e-cigarette maker. Ellison accused Juul of using attractive flavors, clever ads, and slick products to hook children on nicotine, seeking over $100 million in damages.

Minnesota claims that Juul targeted young people to get a new generation addicted to nicotine, reversing the state’s work to decrease youth smoking rates. Juul has faced numerous lawsuits, with most settling outside of court.

However, Minnesota won a landmark $7.1 billion settlement with the tobacco industry in 1998 and added Altria, which formerly owned a minority stake in Juul, as a co-defendant in 2020. Juul’s attorney, David Bernick, claimed that Juul’s purpose was to convert adult smokers to a less-dangerous product, not to attract kids.

He argued that e-cigarettes are somewhere in between safe and deadly and that Juul did nothing to intentionally drive youth demand. Bernick promised jurors an “intense and interesting” trial.

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