San Francisco schools sue Altria over youth vaping crisis

San Francisco schools sue Altria over youth vaping crisis
Schools sue Altria for aiding Juul in creating teen vaping crisis; Altria denies targeting youth in its investment.

On April 24th, the San Francisco public school system filed a lawsuit against Altria Group. The school claims that Altria helped e-cigarette company JUUL manufacture a teenage e-cigarette addiction "crisis.

Thomas Cartmell, legal representative of the school authorities, informed the jury that Altria was once the biggest investor in JUUL and that they were at the core of JUUL's strategy to attract teenagers with sweet flavors and flashy advertising in order to grow their business.

Beth Wilkinson, the lawyer for Altria, argued that the company's goal is to increase sales among smokers who seek less harmful options and not necessarily target youth. Furthermore, Altria did not benefit from its investment in JUUL, which was worth $12.8 billion. "There was no return on this $12.8 billion investment – Altria did not benefit from it," she stated.

According to Williamson, the sales of JUUL have actually decreased since Altria's investment, indicating that Altria cannot be the driving force behind the surge of young people using electronic cigarettes. Furthermore, Altria invested in JUUL only after the majority of its flavored products were removed from the market.

Wilkinson also stated that targeting users under the age of 18 would be pointless, as both JUUL and Altria are aware that marketing to teenagers would not gain FDA approval.

It is known that the San Francisco Unified School District also sued JUUL and reached a settlement agreement last year.

Altria is facing thousands of similar cases from individuals, local government entities, and states. The lawsuit from a San Francisco school was chosen as a test case for the second lawsuit against JUUL.

In a case brought up in Minnesota, the first trial came to a settlement agreement last week as it approached its conclusion. The terms of this agreement have not yet been disclosed.

Juul has resolved the majority of lawsuits against it by paying out over $1 billion to 48 states and territories, as well as $1.7 billion to individuals and local government entities.

Related Reading:

Juul reaches $24 million settlement agreement with Chicago.

A US federal court has approved a $255 million settlement for Juul ahead of its trial in a class-action lawsuit.

E-cigarette manufacturer JUUL has agreed to pay $1.7 billion in settlements after being sued by 34 states.


San Francisco schools are taking cigarette company Altria to court over its alleged role in the "vaping crisis".

Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, has informed a jury that it did not derive any benefits from the marketing strategies aimed at youth by its investment in e-cigarette maker Juul. The testimony was given in a lawsuit filed by an 18-year-old who claims he became addicted to nicotine through Juul’s products. Altria, which owns 35% of Juul, maintains that it had no control over the manufacturer’s marketing campaigns.

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