SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) — More than four lawsuits were filed Tuesday against San Francisco-based Juul Labs over its alleged efforts to get youth to smoke electronic cigarettes.

Three suits were filed on behalf of three San Mateo County school districts and a fourth was filed on behalf of the county board of education and the superintendent of schools, plaintiffs’ attorney Anne Marie Murphy said.

The school districts include Cabrillo Unified School District, Jefferson Union High School District and San Mateo-Foster City School District.

The suits allege that Juul’s marketing strategy, advertising and product design have targeted youth, especially teens and preteens, causing a rise in the use of e-cigarettes by youth. Murphy said school districts are bearing the brunt of the apparent epidemic and that usage is a public health crisis.

Juul spokesperson Ted Kwong responded to word of the lawsuits saying, “Our customer base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers and we do not intend to attract underage users. To the extent these cases allege otherwise, they are without merit.”

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