Gilmer County among growing list of municipalities joining federal lawsuit against Juul

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:44 PM EST
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GLENVILLE, W.Va (WDTV) - Gilmer county is one of several West Virginia municipalities taking part in a federal lawsuit against e-cigarette manufacturer Juul.

The lawsuit alleges Juul fraudulently marketed its product to Gilmer county residents, especially teenagers.

According to the DHHR youth exposure to nicotine-based products in West Virginia has escalated in the past two years.

Several counties and municipalities in west Virginia signed on to a federal lawsuit to take down e-cigarette maker Juul.

And Charleston attorney rusty Webb is representing them.

“More than 1 in 3 west Virginia high school student report use of e-cigarettes and that’s a 150 percent increase from 2017 to 2019,” said Webb.

One of counties joining the suit is the Gilmer county.

The county claims this alleged false marketing of the Juul has created a nuisance.

“It’s been marketed to teenagers as non-addictive and falsely marketed as safer than cigarettes with less nicotine, " said Webb.

Webb says the e-cigarette epidemic is not unlike the opioid epidemic.

“It’s the same legal theory which is nuisance. [Juul] created a nuisance and now the counties and boards of education have to clean up their mess,” said Webb.

The company has recently settled several lawsuits in other states alleging they illegally targeted young people in their marketing.

“Even though they’re illegal, teenagers will find a way to purchase them,” said Webb.

Webb is encouraging more West Virginia county boards of education, county boards of health and county commissions to join the suit if they want funding to fight Juul.

“You can educate, prevent, and [provide] treatment for 17 and down and use your county commissions by distributing the money to their boards of health,” said Webb.

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