Louisville Files Federal Lawsuit Against JUUL
Louisville has filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs, Inc., the largest manufacturer of e-cigarette and vaping products.
Mayor Greg Fischer said the suit was filed Wednesday in California and joins more than 200 other cases. Fischer said Juul contributed to a surge of nicotine use and addiction, and the city’s lawsuit aims to prevent further harm.
“I’m proud of what we have done, but it’s clear we have to do more to protect the health of our children and the health of our community,” Fischer said. “We will fight to ensure that those who fuel this epidemic are part of ending it, and that they do everything possible to reverse the harm they’ve caused.”
The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has become a growing health concern in Kentucky. City officials urged residents last September to stop vaping amid an outbreak of lung illnesses associated with vape use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that an increasing number of youth in Kentucky high schools reported using vaping products. Kentucky has partnered with a national texting service to help youth who want to quit vaping, but experts have said that moreis needed to combat the problem.
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell said Juul made a “surgical strike” in marketing its products to youth, using attractive flavors to appeal to teens.
“Juul misled customers to believe its products were not as harmful as traditional cigarettes, and Juul concealed the unparalleled potency of its e-cigarette,” O’Connell said. “Folks, Juul lied to us. And we’re going to go after them to get a refund for the wreckage of those lives that this has cost.”
A spokesperson for Juul responded to Louisville's lawsuit and the others Wednesday afternoon via email:
Fischer said litigation might cost millions, but will be paid for by law firms Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery and Wagstaff & Cartmell LLP who were hired as outside counsel for the city.
This story has been updated.