ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) - Three Maryland counties have filed lawsuits against the e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., arguing the company intentionally marketed its products to underage customers and contributed to a youth vaping epidemic, according to the court filings.
Howard, Anne Arundel and Garrett counties filed separate federal lawsuits in April, The Baltimore Sun reported. They joined Montgomery County and numerous other counties and states who filed similar suits against the multibillion-dollar vaping startup last year.
The lawsuits allege Juul violated Maryland public nuisance laws and federal racketeering statutes by launching a marketing campaign for its vaping products that targeted youth, using advertising on social media sites and other “deceptive” sales tactics to hook them on the addictive, nicotine-containing products.
Federal law bans sales to those under 18.
The lawsuits also alleged that Juul later tried to deny its products were designed for young people.
The company has said its audience was adults and it “does not intend to attract underage users.” Juul said it pulled television, print and digital ads and eliminated most of its flavors in response to concerns by government officials and others.
The Maryland counties’ lawsuits come less than two months after a coalition of 39 states announced it would look into the marketing and sales of Juul vaping products, including whether the company targeted youths.