(CNN)North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced Wednesday that the state has filed a lawsuit against e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, claiming that its marketed its products to children and misled the public about risks associated with those products.”As a result of Juul’s deceptive and unfair practices, thousands of North Carolina kids are at risk of addiction to nicotine,” Stein said Wednesday. “Juul must be stopped from spreading this disease any further and must pay for its violations of the law.
“I’m taking this action today to keep these products out of kids’ hands, to keep the vapor out of their lungs and to keep the poison out of their brains,” he added.The lawsuit is the first by a state over the company’s alleged marketing toward teens.Stein said the suit stemmed from an investigation his office began in October by requesting information on the company’s sales and marketing practices.”My investigation showed two things: One, it targeted young people. And two, it misleads the public about the potency of nicotine in its products,” he said. “You only have to walk through any high school parking lot in North Carolina to see how pervasive Juul is among young people in our state.”Juul claims its products are for adults, but its business strategy clearly targeted young people and minors.”Stein said he’s seeking to stop Juul from engaging in “harmful and unfair marketing practices, to pay civil penalties and for the disgorgement of Juul’s ill-gotten profits.”