WASHINGTON — Editor's note: The above video is from October 2019 when King County announced that it was suing Juul.
Skagit County is adding to the growing list of agencies or school districts in Washington state to sue e-cigarette manufacturer Juul.
The suit claims that Juul's advertising and product design "deliberately targets minors" and has contributed to a dramatic increase in youth vaping and youth nicotine addiction.
"Skagit County has also been hit hard by the youth vaping epidemic. Vapor product use among Skagit County 8th graders is higher than the statewide average, and the percentage of 10th graders who report current use of vapor products increased from 11% to 18% in just two years. Vapor product use among Skagit County 12th graders increased from 18% to 29% over that same time period," the lawsuit states.
Also named in the suit are Altria Group, Inc. (parent company of Philip Morris), which owns a 35% stake in Juul, and Eonsmoke, LLC, which markets Juul-compatible products and has initiated youth-oriented social media campaigns such as “Doit4juul.”
Juul has come under fire for specifically marketing to minors with its fruity flavors and advertisements.
Nationwide, thousands of people have been diagnosed with a vaping-related illness. More than 40 deaths have been linked to vaping.
In an effort to address the nationwide issue, Gov. Jay Inslee banned the sale of all flavored vapor products in Washington state.
Skagit County joins King County, La Conner School District and Seattle Public schools in filing a suit against Juul.
Those suits, including Skagit's recent filing, are seeking damages to fund prevention education programs. The lawsuits also aim to stop Juul's marketing toward youth.