LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. — A northern Illinois prosecutor has sued the nation’s largest e-cigarette producer, contending the company intentionally targeted teenagers with a deceptive marketing campaign.
The lawsuit filed by Lake County Circuit Court by State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim seeks unspecified punitive damages against San Francisco-based Juul Labs.
During a news conference Tuesday at a Lincolnshire middle school, Nerheim accused Juul Labs of creating a public health crisis “in order to line their pockets with cash.”
Spokesman Ted Kwong said in a statement Juul Labs has never marketed to youth and doesn’t want non-nicotine users, “especially youth,” to ever try the product.
The Lake County Board has approved the hiring of three law firms to handle most of the work involved in the lawsuit. Nerheim says the firms will work at no cost and will only be compensated should a monetary settlement be reached.