The city of Denver filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against the manufacturers of e-cigarette and vaping products as Colorado battles an emerging vaping epidemic among young people.

“As we battle COVID-19, pulmonary health has never been more important,” Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson said in a press release.  “Sadly, scientific studies indicate the disease could pose a greater risk to young people who have been using the defendants’ harmful products.  We are more focused than ever on fulsome abatement strategies combating the youth vaping epidemic.  The defendants helped cause it, so they can help us pay for it.”

Denver’s lawsuit was filed against the makers and parent companies of JUUL and similar products. The lawsuit seeks to hold the defendants accountable for their aggressive marketing to youth, according to a press release from the city.

Data show Colorado leads the nation in youth vaping.  In 2013, only 11% of high school students in the Denver area had ever tried e-cigarettes.  By 2017, that number had jumped to 40% of high school students.  Denver has spent significant time and resources combatting this increase by performing sting operations, by limiting access to vape and tobacco products with the Tobacco 21 Law passed in 2019, and by seeking to develop addiction treatment options for youth.