You Won’t Believe Which State Is Suing The Vaping Industry This Time
State Attorney General randomly sues eight vaping companies amid State Health Department citing lowest smoking rates ever recorded.
Several attorney generals throughout the United States have been launching independent investigations and bringing a litany of lawsuits against several key figures in the vaping industry, including popular manufacturer Juul Labs. These lawsuits and investigations are often carried out in the name of protecting minors from the “dangers” of vaping, despite citing little supporting evidence.
North Carolina is the most recent state to join this ever-growing list, with the attorney general’s office filing lawsuits against eight vapor product companies throughout the state. The office had previously filed a similar lawsuit targeting popular device manufacturer Juul Labs back in May.
The Attorney General’s office has stated that the lawsuit aims to combat deceptive marketing practices to protect children and teens from taking up vaping. Critics of the lawsuit note the suit calls for sales from the eight companies to be shut down in the state, an excessive and unreasonable request that may potentially bankrupt these small businesses.
The lawsuit comes despite prior reports issued by state health officials noting the lowest smoking rates ever recorded within the state, with many sources often citing vaping as a key reason for these declines. This clear conflict in messaging between agencies has left many in the public confused and conflicted on where the state is heading in regards to vaping.
Another State Suing
The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office is bringing lawsuits against eight vapor product companies throughout the state, aiming to shut down any in-state sales from these companies. Acting Attorney General Josh Stein claims these companies are violating the state’s unfair or deceptive trade practices law by marketing their products to children, and not appropriately verifying ages of those making purchases.
These lawsuits targeting vaping come amid a statement issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services noting state smoking rates are at the lowest levels ever recorded. Several independent studies over the years have cited vaping as a primary driving force in the massive declines in smoking rates over the last decade.
The lawsuits specifically target Beard Vape, Direct eLiquid, Electric Lotus, Electric, Tobacconist, Eonsmoke, Juice Man, Tinted Brew, and VapeCo. They allege in the suit that these companies are “helping to fuel an epidemic of vaping” among teens, with flavors such as cotton candy and gummy bears “clearly targeting” youth.
The attorney general’s office is asking for the courts to shut down sales from these companies in the state. Industry leaders and local business owners have decried the lawsuit as excessive, noting shutting down sales effectively bankrupts these businesses, while shrinking the tax base and putting hard-working people out of work. Members of the public are also confused as to why vaping companies are being so aggressively targeted by officials while simultaneously being praised by officials for aiding in falling smoking rates.
Facts About Vaping
The vaping industry has already been relentlessly vigilant in self-regulation to ensure vapor products aren’t sold to minors. Juul Labs, in particular, has invested $30 million dollars in a campaign to help combat underage vaping.
While teenage cannabis vaping is on the rise, research shows that teenage nicotine vaping rates are shockingly low despite myths of a teenage vaping “epidemic” perpetuated by officials. A survey conducted by Public Health England featuring over 60,000 teenage participants found as few as 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens who try vaping ever take it up habitually.
Despite this misinformation, there is a body of research highlighting the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid and reduced harm alternative to tobacco. One such study conducted by the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation tool available today.
The problem in getting smokers to try vaping is that misinformation parroted by officials and anti-vaping activists creates a negative stigma against this powerful public health tool. In fact, a survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health discovered only 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with 26% saying it’s just as bad if not worse.
By filing frivolous lawsuits aggressively targeting the vaping industry while tobacco company’s profits are at all-time highs, officials are intentionally demonizing a potential public health tool while allowing big tobacco to flourish. It’s important to prevent and combat teenage vaping, but these officials often hastily enact regulation based on misinformation in order to better appeal to their constituency.
As more legislation and legal action are taken against the vaping industry, lawmakers and officials may become even more overzealous in their approach to vaping regulation. A prime example of this is bans on vaping, ranging from common sense laws such as restricting vaping indoors in public spaces, all the way to outright prohibition on any sales of vapor products.
Members of the vaping community must remain vigilant in countering misinformation as it arises, and remain civically engaged to hold lawmakers and officials accountable. We need to inform the general public about the benefits of vaping, to help clear misconceptions and shift public opinion surrounding vaping.
Do you believe the lawsuit filed by North Carolina’s Attorney General is frivolous and unwarranted? Do you believe these kinds of lawsuits are simply political theatre? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you can receive all the latest vaping news!
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