Montco DA files suit against e-cigarette company

Stacy Wescoe//November 6, 2019

Montco DA files suit against e-cigarette company

Stacy Wescoe//November 6, 2019

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s office is going after one of the leaders in the vaping industry.

District Attorney Kevin Steele was joined by special outside counsel, Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barret & Bendesky, P.C. of Philadelphia in filing a civil complaint in the Court of Common Pleas against California-based Juul Inc.

Steele said studies have indicated that one-third of Montgomery County teens are vaping and/or using Juul products.

Also named as defendants were local retailers Guru KOP, Inc. (operator of Pantry 1 Food Mart), King of Prussia, and Market 24, of Norristown.

Steel said the two named defendant-retailers in Montgomery County were both cited by federal authorities following a national sting operation in 2018 for illegal sales to minors of Juul and other e-cigarette products.

The outside law firm working with the county will only receive compensation if the litigation is successful. The funds would come from the plaintiff and not taxpayers, Steele said.

The civil penalties and abatement costs sought would be applied, in part, to paying the costs of programs for:

  • Health care services and those associated with the early detection, ongoing testing, monitoring for detection of illness, disease process, or disease, diagnosis and treatment of resulting injuries and adverse health consequences of Juul’s conduct;
  • Combatting the abuse and diversion of the use of e-cigarettes by minors including tobacco education programs, cessation programs for users and public information campaigns to warn users of health effects and the addictive nature of the product;
  • Studying the effects of e-cigarette use in minors and the possible cures and treatments for the detrimental effects of using it.

According to the company’s website, in September, Juul Labs announced that its new CEO, K.C. Crosthwaite, is leading a broad review of the company’s practices and policies. As part of that process, the company suspended all broadcast, print, and digital product advertising in the U.S.

The company has also suspended the sale of its non-tobacco, non-menthol-based flavors in the U.S., including mango, creme, fruit, and cucumber, pending FDA review.

Juul has not yet returned a request for comment.