Becerra sues Juul over alleged illegal sales to underage youth

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Los Angeles County officials sued Juul Labs Inc. in Alameda County Superior Court Monday, alleging that the e-cigarette maker illegally sold its products to underage youth and failed to warn of health risks.

The civil lawsuit seeks a court injunction and fines against San Francisco-based Juul. It alleges the company “has engaged in a systematic campaign to target underage California residents,” resulting in allegedly devastating consequences of youth addiction and health problems.

Juul spokesman Austin Finan said the company had not yet seen the lawsuit, but said the company is seeking to work with public health and law enforcement officials to combat underage use, and has a goal of helping adult smokers stop using conventional cigarettes.

“We do not intend to attract underage users,” Finan said.

Becerra noted in a statement that 42 deaths and 2,172 cases of lung injury nationwide have been associated with e-cigarette or vaping product use. Four of the reported deaths were in California.

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