Juul will pay six states $462 million for marketing to children

Juul Labs Inc. agreed to pay $462 million to six states and the District of Columbia to resolve lawsuits and investigations into the e-cigarette maker’s marketing of addictive vaping products to children.

The agreement requires Juul to stop flouting state laws that protect the privacy rights of minors and prohibit false advertising and unfair competition, New York Attorney General Letitia James and the California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“Juul has sparked a nationwide public health crisis by putting addictive products into the hands of minors and convincing them it’s harmless,” James said in a live press conference with the others. States. “Today they are paying the price for the harm they have caused.”

The states involved in the deal, which includes Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Mexico, were not part of an earlier deal Juul struck seven months ago to pay a total of $439 million. dollars to 33 states. California’s share of the new installment – $175.8 million – is the largest, with New York receiving $112.7 million.

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“Today is another step forward in our fight to protect our children from vaping and nicotine addiction,” Bonta said in a statement. “Juul just saw dollar signs” and used “negative tactics” to “hook our kids to their products,” including attractive, bright ads, giveaways at concerts and festivals, and sleek, easily concealed and “fun flavors” to boost the amount of nicotine, Bonta said.

“Juul knew all along how dangerous and addictive its products were,” District of Columbia Attorney General Brian Schwalb said at the press conference. “He knew, but didn’t care. He has chosen to put his profits before the health and safety of children. »

“Total Resolution”

In a statement, Juul said the agreement brings the company to a “full resolution” of its legal challenges, with more than $1 billion in settlements with 47 states and territories. Juul said underage use of its products has dropped 95% since the company “reset” in 2019, citing the National Youth Smoking Survey.

“We are now able to focus even more on our path forward to maximize the value and impact of our product technology and science base,” Juul said.

Multi-State Agreements succeed certain earlier agreements with individual States. In April 2022, Juul hit a $22.5 million settlement with the state of Washington over allegations that it illegally targeted underage consumers. North Carolina struck a $40 million deal with Juul in 2021 over how the company markets its products to underage users.

California will use its share of the money to fund research, education and enforcement efforts related to e-cigarettes, Bonta said.

As with previous state agreements, the new agreement limits Juul’s ability to market to underage consumers. Among other things, the agreement requires Juul to secure its products behind store counters and verify the age of consumers who directly sell or promote its products online, according to the statement.

In June, the Food and Drug Administration banned Juul products from US shelves, citing a lack of evidence demonstrating their overall safety. The regulator also noted Juul’s “disproportionate role in increasing youth vaping.”

Juul won a court order temporarily blocking that move, and the agency separately suspended its ban, allowing the company to continue selling products for the time being. A ban would wipe out a substantial portion of Juul’s revenue, and the company has considered options including new funding and a possible bankruptcy filing if that happens.

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