Juul to Pay $438.5M to Settle Teen Vaping Probe

33 states were investigating the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2022 3:20 PM CDT
Juul to Pay $438.5M to Settle Teen Vaping Probe
Packaging for an electronic cigarette and menthol pods from Juul Labs.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs has agreed to pay nearly $440 million to settle a two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products, which have long been blamed for sparking a national surge in teen vaping. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced the deal Tuesday on behalf of the states plus Puerto Rico, which joined together in 2020 to probe Juul's early promotions and claims about the benefits of its technology as a smoking alternative, the AP reports. The $438.5 million settlement, which amounts to about 25% of Juul's US sales of $1.9 billion last year, will be paid out over a period of six to 10 years.

The settlement, which includes numerous restrictions on how Juul can market its products, resolves one of the biggest legal threats facing the beleaguered company, which still faces nine separate lawsuits from other states. Additionally, Juul faces hundreds of personal lawsuits brought on behalf of teenagers and others who say they became addicted to the company's vaping products. The states' investigation found that Juul marketed its e-cigarettes to underage teens with launch parties, product giveaways, and ads and social media posts using youthful models, according to a statement.

"We think that this will go a long way in stemming the flow of youth vaping," Tong said. "I’m under no illusions and cannot claim that it will stop youth vaping," he said. "It continues to be an epidemic. It continues to be a huge problem. But we have essentially taken a big chunk out of what was once a market leader, and by their conduct, a major offender." Tong said Connecticut's payment of at least $16 million will go toward vaping prevention and education efforts. Teen use of e-cigarettes skyrocketed after Juul’s launch in 2015, but since 2019 Juul has mostly been in retreat, dropping all US advertising and pulling its fruit and candy flavors from store shelves. (The FDA ordered Juul to pull its products from the market in June, but the decision was suspended weeks later.)

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