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North Carolina AG sucks e-cigarette maker Juul for the play of dangers

An illustration showing a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC.

Eva Hambach | AFP | Getty Images

North Carolina sued for e-cigarette maker Juul Wednesday, accusing the gun company of targeting young consumers and distorting the strength and risk of nicotine in their products.

It is the latest cost to the company claiming it is deliberately promoting nicotine use among underage buyers.

"JUUL targeted young people as customers. As a result, vaping has become an epidemic among minors," lawyer lawyer in North Carolina said Josh Stein in a statement. "JUUL's business practices are not just ruthless, they are illegal, and I intend to stop them. We cannot allow another generation of youth to become addicted to nicotine."

Juul allegedly "risk" that nicotine in its flavorful pods, according to the complaint, saying that a "typical JUUL pod is so strong and addictive that it is almost three times the allowable concentration allowed for sale in a number of countries for humans. in all ages."

Stein says the company deliberately designed its products to attract young consumers and targeted them to social media by paying influencers to market their product. The trial also claims that Juul used negligent age verification methods for online purchases, so that young consumers can buy their products.

"Because of JUUL's lackadaisical ̵

1; and, sometimes, intentionally blind – approach to age verification, huge numbers of underage users have easily obtained JUUL products, often simply by ordering them online," the trial said.

Juul said in a statement that it has not seen the complaint yet, but the company shares Stein's concern over youth armed forces ", why we have collaborated with their office and why we have taken the most aggressive measures for everyone in the industry to combat youth use. "

The complaint argues that nearly 17% of high school students in North Carolina said they used an e-cigarette in 2017 and added that upper secondary and secondary school violence increased to 78% and 48%, respectively, across the country.

Stein asks the court to force the company to stop selling e-cigarettes to minors in North Carolina, limiting the number of pod tastes sold in the state, ceasing advertising practices that appeal to young consumers, and deleting all customer data for all consumers under the age of 18.

Juul is partly owned by the tobacco war Altria and dominates the e-cigarette market. It said it has already stopped selling non-menthol flavored powders in stores, "strengthened" its age verification process and shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts, while constantly working to remove inappropriate social media content generated by others on the the platforms. "

Juul has also pledged to invest $ 30 million over the next three years on research, youth and parenting and engagement and said it" strongly "advocates raising the legal age of tobacco to 21 years .

Altria, which has a 35% stake in Juul, did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Stein's accusations are just the latest claims the e-cigarette manufacturer marketed its products to young consumers, leading to a rapid increase in vaping in adolescents.

Last year, Massachusetts lawyer Maura Healey announced that she was investigating the company so as not to stop minors from buying their products. Healey, who said the Massachusetts probe was the first of its kind, examines how many minors use Juul's products and how the company monitors its age verification system.

WATCH: Former Mass. AG joins Juul Government business law

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