JUUL Labs has pushed back against claims it launched marketing campaigns with vape ads aimed at luring teenagers to its vape products, and that its goal was only to get adult cigarette smokers to switch to its products. But a lawsuit filed this week by the Massachusetts attorney general claims it has proof that disputes that fact – an extensive list of websites, mobile apps, and social media aimed at teenagers and tweens where JUUL promoted its products, according to the New York Times.
According to the 66-page complaint, JUUL paid a company to place its digital ads across a variety of websites including educational ones like basic-mathematics.com, coolmath.com, math-aids.com, mathplayground.com, mathway.com, onlinemathlearning.com, purplemath.com, and socialstudiesforkids.com.
The ads also ran on sites geared toward young kids, including dailydressupgames.com, games2girls.com; and kidsgameheroes.com, as well as college information sites like collegeconfidential.com.
The placement indicates JUUL was clearly not interested in swaying adult smokers. According to the lawsuit, JUUL rejected a proposal by a marketing company that designed a series of ads using outdated technological devices, like video game joy sticks and old-generation mobile phones with the tag lines “Everything changes eventually” and “JUUL. The evolution of smoking.”
Instead, the company turned to an in-house art director to produce its “Vaporized” campaign featuring young, attractive models. The company also attempted to hire celebrities and social media influencers with large followings – the kind of people youngsters look up to and want to emulate.
And when the company received accounts for orders listing high school email addresses, the company obliged hundreds of times. “JUUL allowed more than 1,200 accounts to be established for Massachusetts consumers using school email addresses, including email addresses associated with high schools in Beverly, Malden, and Braintree and shipped its products to recipients with obviously fabricated names, like ‘PodGod,’” the lawsuit states.
Massachusetts is one of several states that has filed a lawsuit against JUUL over its marketing practices. Others include Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
JUUL also faces lawsuits from school districts across the country for costs associated with diverting funds to deal with dealing with nicotine-addicted students.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. They have also filed dozens of lawsuits on behalf of school districts nationwide, which seek to protect students and recover resources spent fighting the vaping epidemic.