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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Photo John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Juul Labs paid a company to place ads on student-focused websites including the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Seventeen magazine, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Why it matters: The suit, based on the findings of a two-year investigation, contradicts the e-cigarette company’s denial that it sought out teenagers to buy its products.

“Juul is responsible for the millions of young people nationwide addicted to e-cigarettes, reversing decades of progress combatting underage tobacco.”
— Maura Healey said in a press conference Wednesday

Background: Healey opened an investigation into Juul in 2018 over concerns about the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to minors. The claims in the filing are the strongest to date confirming Juul's influence on young people.

The filing:

  • Juul rejected initial marketing pitches from an ad company that touted the sleek, technological design of its devices for adults. Instead, the filing shows marketing images of stylish, young models vaping.
  • The complaint alleges Juul sent e-cigarettes to consumers who provided student email addresses at high schools.
  • The investigation also revealed an email from 2018 in which a Juul customer service representative instructed a student on how to get around age restrictions for online buying.

The big picture: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have sued Juul over its marketing practices.

  • The federal government raised the age to buy tobacco products to 21 and limited sales of some flavored e-cigarette products. Massachusetts passed several laws affecting the e-cigarette industry, effective June 1.

The other side, per Juul's senior director of communications Austin Finan:

“While we have not yet reviewed the complaint, we remain focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society...
"As part of that process in the U.S., we are preparing comprehensive and scientifically rigorous Premarket Tobacco Product Applications, stopped the sale of flavored pods other than Tobacco and Menthol in November, halted our television, print and digital product advertising, implemented a $1 billion restructuring plan, refrained from lobbying the Administration on its draft flavor guidance and support the final policy. Our customer base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers and we do not intend to attract underage users."

Go deeper: Juul's very bad, no good rotten year

Go deeper

Civil rights leaders plan a day of voting rights marches

Martin Luther King III and Rev. Al Sharpton. Photo: Cheriss May/Getty Images

Civil rights leaders from Washington to Phoenix are planning marches on Aug. 28 to push Congress to pass new protections around voting rights.

Why it matters: A landmark voting rights proposal remains stalled in the U.S. Senate, as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and other moderates block efforts at filibuster reforms to advance a bill held up by Republicans.

Latinos twice as likely as white people to die from gunfire

Expand chart
Data: Violence Policy Center; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Nearly 3,000 Latinos each year have died from gunfire in the United States over the last two decades, making them twice as likely to be shot to death than white non-Hispanics, according to a study from the Violence Policy Center.

By the numbers: Almost 70,000 Latinos were killed with firearms between 1999 and 2019, 66% of them in homicides, according to the center’s data analysis.

Top labor leader Richard Trumka dies unexpectedly at 72

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who led the largest federation of unions in the country for over a decade, has died at 72.

The big picture: Trumka began working as a coal miner in 1968 and would go on to dedicate his life to the labor movement, including as president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO beginning in 2009.