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The American RICO act is designed to combat organised crime; it has played a central role in the latest joke related to vaping

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The “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” Act (RICO) was used in a crack down on Sonny Barger’s Hells Angels, brought down the Lucchese Mafia family, crushed the Gambino organised-crime family, and resulted in Donald Trump making a $25 million out of court settlement on claims he misrepresented Trump University. This week, RICO featured in the fastest of frivolous vape class-action lawsuits.

Christian Foss is a 19-yr-old Park Ridge, Illinois resident who asserts he began vaping when he was 16. A shining example of how bad vaping is for the developing teen brain, Foss now attends university studying Political Science.

Foss used to be a member of Boy Scout Troop 76, following the code:

  • On my honor, I will do my best
  • To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
  • To help other people at all times;
  • To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

According to the American Scouting Service, the being “morally straight” means “to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.”

During his time vaping, Foss states he became addicted to nicotine and began to suffer from worsening asthma symptoms. This, he said, was absolutely the fault of JUUL Labs and its little pods. He, through his lawyers, attempted to make out that JUUL adopted tactics used by the tobacco industry and employed appealing ad campaigns aimed at children like him.

His $400 lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, stated that JUUL and Philip Morris had violated RICO as a result: “Mimicking Big Tobacco’s past marketing practices, defendants prey on youth for financial gain”.

“JUUL adopted the same themes used by Philip Morris and other Big Tobacco companies in the cigarette industry’s long-standing, extensive advertising campaign to glamorize cigarette smoking while downplaying its addictiveness and deleterious health effects.”

The lawsuit claimed JUUL eliquid’s nicotine salts contain dangerous toxins and that JUUL covers up that there is over 30% more nicotine per puff than in cigarettes, and the company hides how addictive nicotine is.

On Tuesday, his attorney Ken Moll said: "What we want out of this lawsuit is education and information, and we want regulation to prevent them from targeting youth. We want regulation for smoke shops to prevent selling (e-cigarettes) to kids."

"This is a gateway drug,” he added while mentioning that his company was looking for others to join the class action.

JUUL’s Ted Kwong responded by repeating his mantra that JUUL has never marketed to children and that it is aimed at adults.

Then, just as the final pieces were being put together for the POTV article, Foss’ lawyer filed Foss a notice of voluntary dismissal – ending all further action on the matter.

Ken Moll didn’t reply to POTV’s email requesting details about why the case has been voluntarily dropped. Did Christian Foss finally remember what he was taught in Boy Scout Troop 76?

Meanwhile, the warm, fuzzy and cuddly JUUL Labs faces a plethora of other lawsuits; the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office in Illinois filed one last week and a West Virginia woman filed a suit in Charleston. Sympathy for the pod company is rapidly ebbing away following its recent anti-vaping statements.


  • Foss v. JUUL Labs Inc., 19-cv-5557, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) – [link]
Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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