Electronic cigarette company Juul has reached a multimillion dollar settlement with six states and the District of Columbia to resolve multiple lawsuits alleging it illegally targeted young people with its advertising campaigns.
Without admitting to any wrongdoing, Juul agreed to pay out $462 million in the multistate settlement, whose plaintiffs were California, Colorado, D.C., Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico and New York.
The states alleged the company deliberately targeted young people with fruit and candy-flavored e-cigs, as well as through social media and influencer marketing. They had pointed to how Juul gave away free samples at events like music festivals to specifically target a younger demographic.
“The terms of the agreement, like prior settlements, provide financial resources to further combat underage use and develop cessation programs and reflect our current business practices, which were implemented as part of our company-wide reset in the fall of 2019,” Juul said in a statement.
The company further claimed that underage use of Juuls has declined 95 percent since the since 2019, when the prevalence of e-cigarette use peaked.
As part of the settlement, Juul will limit the amount of in-store and online purchases consumers can make, refrain from using people under the age of 35 in promotional materials and restrict free or low-cost giveaways.
“Too many young New Yorkers are struggling to quit vaping and there is no doubt that JUUL played a central role in the nationwide vaping epidemic,” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said in a statement. “Today’s agreement will help young New Yorkers put their vapes down for good and ensure that future generations understand the harms of vaping.”
“JUUL knew how addictive and dangerous its products were and actively tried to cover up that medical truth,” D.C. Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb said. “Now, thanks to the diligent work by our legal teams, JUUL has ended its harmful, illegal conduct and must put millions of dollars towards mitigating the public health damage it caused.”