November 22, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

California's lawsuit against Juul details how online age verification is a joke

Earlier this week the State of California sued Juul, alleging a wide range of efforts to addict kids and violate a range of California laws.

Every one of these law suits adds more details to our understanding of how Juul made its billions.  The thing that struck me in the California case is the detailed explanation about how Juul's "state of the art" online agre verification system let a ton of kids buy Juul and collected informationn that could be used to email marketing materials to kids.

Beginning on page 41, the case explains the purposeful holes in the online verification system and how Juul gamed the system to allow kids to get through.  In addition to incomplete verifications, the system allowed -- indeed, encouraged -- multiple attempts for kids who did not get through.

The problems that California documents in this lawsuit are endemic to online verification systems and a reason that no tobacco products should be allowed to be sold online.  The FDA could prohibit online sales, as could states.  California's investigation not only shows why they should do this, but how to prove that these systems don't work.

The suit also raises demonstrates serious privacy violations of kids and raises important environmental impacts of e-cigarettes, particularly their disposal as toxic waste..

I urge everyone working on ecigs to read the suit.

Well done.

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