Electronic cigarette maker Juul intentionally advertised its nicotine products on kid-friendly websites, including Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, internal documents obtained by the Massachusetts attorney general show.
Attorney General Maura Healey filed a suit Wednesday against the e-cigarette maker, which has long claimed its products are meant for adults — despite executives knowing that young people were addicted to its products.
“JUUL explicitly identified its target audience as the ‘cool crowd,’ a demographic of young people who were ‘fashionable, urban with a vibrant life,’ and ‘enjoy[ed] going out to shows and events,’” the lawsuit reads.
Juul is accused of intentionally purchasing banner and video advertisements on Nickelodeon sites nick.com and nickjr.com and Cartoon Network’s website at cartoonnetwork.com.
The company also explicitly targeted younger girls on sites including: dailydressupgames.com, didigames.com, forhergames.com, games2girls.com, girlgames.com, and girlsgogames.com, according to court papers.
The suit also says that Juul purchased banner advertisements on teen magazine websites including teen.com, seventeen.com, justjaredjr.com, and hireteen.com.
Juul purchased ads with a potential audience in the “tens of thousands” on websites featuring educational resources and college readiness materials, including survivingcollege.com, the lawsuit revealed.
Juul has long claimed selling to kids was “antithetical to the company’s mission,” co-founder James Monsees told The New York Times in 2018.
In New York City, about 13,000 middle school students huffed on an e-cigarette in 2018, according to the city Health Department — as parents nationwide started to file their own lawsuits against the company after their children died from using the nicotine products.
Juul has also been sued by New York’s Attorney General Letitia James for allegedly selling the products to minors over the internet, it was revealed last November.
Last year, President Trump raised the legal smoking and vaping age to 21 nationwide amid an outbreak of vaping-related deaths. As of Feb. 4, e-cigs have caused 64 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Last month, the FDA announced it would begin banning flavored Juul pods — favorites for young vapers — just after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law prohibiting the sale of certain flavors in the city.