"As a result of Juul's deceptive and unfair practices, thousands of children in North Carolina are at risk of nicotine addiction," Stein said Wednesday. "It should be avoided that Juul continues spreading this disease and must pay for its violations of the law.
"I am taking this action today to keep these products out of the children's hands, to keep the steam out of their lungs and to keep the poison out of their brains," he added.
The lawsuit is the first by a state about the company's alleged marketing to teenagers.
Stein said the lawsuit stemmed from an investigation that started at his office in October, requesting information about the company's sales and marketing practices.
"My research showed two things: one, aimed at young people, and two, misleading the public about the potency of nicotine in their products," he said. "You just have to walk through the parking lot of a high school in North Carolina to see how general Juul is among the youth of our state.
"Juul says that his products are for adults, but his business strategy was clearly aimed at young people and minors."
Stein said he is trying to prevent Juul from engaging in "harmful and unfair marketing practices, paying civil penalties and the release of Juul's profits."
Stein said that 75% of the Juul market in electronic cigarettes was driven primarily by use among middle and high school students, adding that nearly 17% of North Carolina high school students reported missing in the last month. He also cited national numbers, published by the US Food and Drug Administration. UU In November, they show that vaping had increased by almost 80% among high school students and 50% among high school students from the previous year.
Stein said that Juul used influential people in popular social media among young people, as well as designing flavors and attractive products for teenagers.
The lawsuit alleges that Juul used to downplay the strength of his nicotine. Stein said he entered the market with nicotine concentrations well above what was typical at the time and "minimized the risks."
Juul has argued that his products are not for children and are intended to convert former adult smokers. "While we have not yet reviewed the complaint, we share the Attorney General's concerns about youth vaping, which is why we have been cooperating with his office and the most aggressive actions of all in the industry to combat the use of youth." . He said it in a statement on Wednesday.
Anti-tobacco defense groups applauded the demand.
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said: "Juul introduced a high-nicotine, sweet-tasting and nifty product, and marketed it so that one study found that it was clearly targeted at young people. We applaud Attorney General Stein for taking steps to achieve the necessary changes to protect children. "
Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, a parent-led advocacy group, described the lawsuit as a "bold and necessary action" that many parents have been waiting for. "We listen to parents every day who are desperately looking for treatment options for their children addicted to nicotine, some of them up to 12 years old."