Juul Labs will pay $438.5 million to settle a 34-state investigation that found the vaping company was marketing to underage smokers, state officials said Tuesday.
Under the deal, which is still being finalized, Juul would make payments over the next 6-10 years to individual US states and commit not to use cartoons in advertisements or otherwise market. among young consumers.
The survey was spearheaded two years ago by state officials from Connecticut, Oregon and Texas and joined by other states.
The investigation “revealed that Juul deliberately engaged in an advertising campaign that appealed to young people, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them and unhealthy for children,” according to a press release from the Ministry of Health. Oregon Justice.
Juul “relentlessly marketed to underage users with launch parties, advertisements using young and fashionable models, social media posts and free samples,” the press release reads, adding that the company has used age verification techniques “that she knew to be ineffective”.
“The conduct that led to this settlement was reprehensible and demonstrates pure corporate greed in its most damaging form,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said.
“Just when we were starting to make serious progress in reducing smoking among our youth, Juul came along and hooked another generation.”
Juul called the settlement “an important part of our continued commitment to resolving past issues,” a Juul spokesperson said.
“We remain focused on the future as we strive to fulfill our mission of transitioning adult smokers away from cigarettes – the number one cause of preventable death – while addressing underage consumption.”
Juul argued that vaping products can provide a solution to the harmful health effects of conventional combustible cigarettes.
Juul has been accused of a surge in youth vaping for its marketing of fruit and candy flavored e-cigarettes, which it stopped selling in 2019.
In January 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration declared that the sale of e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco or menthol would be illegal unless specifically authorized by the government.
More than two million American middle and high school students said they were vapers in 2021, with eight in ten using flavored e-cigarettes, according to a September 2021 government report.
On June 23, the FDA said it was ordering all products made by Juul Labs after it found the vaping giant had failed to address certain safety concerns.
The next day, a US court stayed the FDA’s action following an appeal by Juul.
Juul’s spokesperson said the agency has filed an appeal with the FDA, adding that “we continue to offer our products to adult smokers across the United States.”
Juul maintains that its products meet US public health standards.
Juul products that remain on sale include the smoking device and Juul cartridges in menthol and “Virginia Tobacco”.