CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed a 10 page lawsuit Wednesday against e-cigarette maker JUUL. Stein says the company has specifically targeted advertising to young people and misrepresented the danger of nicotine in the product.
"JUUL created and spread the disease, the disease of an addiction among North Carolina teenagers,” said Attorney General Stein.
The number of high school students using e-cigarettes has increased by 78% nationwide. It's part of the reason why Attorney General Stein is filing a lawsuit against JUUL, which owns 75 percent of the e-cigarette market.
"My brother is in high school currently. A lot of the times he has told me the teachers have essentially banned bathroom time because they are worried about kids JUULing in the bathroom,” said Kate Claesson from Charlotte.
North Carolina is the first state to file a lawsuit against JUUL. Some parents wonder why the lawsuit took so long.
"I had 3 [kids] that went through high school and I was told the teachers aren't even aware that they can take a hit on a JUUL when they turn their back to the kids,” said Jeff Mulloy from Charlotte.
JUUL is marketed as a smoking alternative for adults, but Attorney General Stein says their flavoring and advertising is geared towards youth. He wants JUUL to stop selling e-cigarettes to minors and limit the flavors sold.
One local JUUL user says rules are already strict in North Carolina with most stores always asking for ID.
"Every time because I looked young. When I smoked cigarettes I thought I would be smoking forever and yeah it's pretty much saved my life,” said Denis Belya from Charlotte.
A spokesperson for JUUL says they share the attorney general's concerns about youth vaping, but they're already taking the most aggressive actions within the industry to stop it.