Juul to pay nearly $440M to settle states’ teen vaping probe

Sep 5, 2022, 10:03 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2022, 3:23 pm
FILE - Packaging for an electronic cigarette and menthol pods from Juul Labs is displayed on Feb. 2...

FILE - Packaging for an electronic cigarette and menthol pods from Juul Labs is displayed on Feb. 25, 2020, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. In a deal announced Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs will 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. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — 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 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 at a news conference at his Hartford office.

“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.”

The $438.5 million will be paid out over a period of six to 10 years. Tong said Connecticut’s payment of at least $16 million will go toward vaping prevention and education efforts. Juul previously settled lawsuits in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and Washington.

The settlement total amounts to about 25% of Juul’s U.S. sales of $1.9 billion last year. Tong said it was an “agreement in principle,” meaning the states will be finalizing the settlement documents over the next several weeks.

Most of the limits imposed by Tuesday’s settlement won’t immediately affect Juul, which halted use of parties, giveaways and other promotions after coming under scrutiny several years ago. The company currently makes up about one third of the U.S. retail vaping market, down from 75% several years ago.

Teen use of e-cigarettes skyrocketed in the years following Juul’s 2015 launch, leading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to declare an “epidemic” of underage vaping among young people. Health experts said the unprecedented increase risked hooking a generation of young people on nicotine.

But since 2019 Juul has mostly been in retreat, dropping all U.S. advertising and pulling its fruit and candy flavors from store shelves.

The biggest blow came earlier this summer when the FDA moved to ban all Juul e-cigarettes from the market. Juul challenged that ruling in court, and the FDA has since reopened its scientific review into the company’s technology.

The FDA review is part of a sweeping effort by regulators to bring scrutiny to the multibillion-dollar vaping industry after years of delays. The agency has authorized a handful of e-cigarettes from Juul’s competitors for adult smokers looking for a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.

While Juul’s early marketing focused on young, urban professionals, the company has since shifted to pitching its product as an alternative nicotine source for older smokers.

“We remain focused on our future as we fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes — the number one cause of preventable death — while combating underage use,” the company said in a statement.

Juul has agreed to refrain from a host of marketing practices as part of the settlement. They include not using cartoons, paying social media influencers, depicting people under 35, advertising on billboards and public transportation and placing ads in any outlets unless 85% of their audience are adults.

The deal also includes restrictions on where Juul products may be placed in stores, age verification on all sales and limits to online and retail sales.

“These are some of the toughest mandates at any point on any industry,” Tong said, “which is incredibly important because at the end of the day this is about protecting our kids and protecting all of us from a very significant public health risk.”

Juul initially sold its high-nicotine pods in flavors like mango, mint and cream. The products became a scourge in U.S. high schools, with students vaping in bathrooms and hallways between classes.

But recent federal survey data shows that teens have been shifting away from the company. Many teens who vape now prefer disposable e-cigarettes, some of which continue to be sold in sweet, fruity flavors.

Overall, the survey showed a drop of nearly 40% in the teen vaping rate as many kids were forced to learn from home during the pandemic. Still, federal officials cautioned about interpreting the results given they were collected online for the first time, instead of in classrooms.

___

Perrone reported from Washington, D.C.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

11 turkey farm workers charged with cruelty caught on video

Eleven people working for one of the nation’s leading turkey producers have been charged with animal cruelty in Pennsylvania after state police said they were caught on video kicking, stomping and beating turkeys at several farms. The workers were responsible for capturing and crating turkeys destined for slaughter, Pennsylvania State Police said Thursday. They launched […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Floods strand thousands, kill 7 in northcentral Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Thousands of travelers remained stranded in Nigeria’s northcentral Kogi state after major connecting roads to other parts of the West African nation were submerged amid the country’s worst flooding in a decade, locals and authorities said Thursday. The floods also killed seven people whose homes were swept away in the state’s […]
1 day ago
Hiring sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. The number of Americans fil...
Associated Press

US applications for jobless benefits increased last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but the labor market remains strong even in the face of persistent inflation and a slowing overall U.S. economy. Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 1 rose by 29,000 to 219,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Last week’s number was revised down by […]
1 day ago
FILE - Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, speaks during a news conference in Chica...
Associated Press

Brittney Griner at ‘weakest moment’ in Russia, her wife says

WASHINGTON (AP) — WNBA star Brittney Griner is at her “absolute weakest moment in life right now” as she faces a hearing in Russia later this month for her appeal of a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, Griner’s wife said in an interview aired Thursday. Cherelle Griner told CBS “This Morning” that her wife, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Turkey appoints new ambassador to Israel as ties warm

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has appointed a new ambassador to Israel, the state-run news agency reported Thursday, in the latest step between the two countries’ efforts toward normalizing ties. Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, a senior diplomat who had served as Turkey’s consul general in Jerusalem between 2010 and 2013, was named to the post, Anadolu […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Sheriff: Dogs attack family in Tennessee, 2 children killed

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two young children were killed and their mother was hospitalized after two family dogs attacked them at their home in Tennessee, officials said. The dogs attacked a 2-year-old girl, a 5-month-old boy and their mother Wednesday afternoon in the home located north of Memphis near Shelby Forest State Park, the Shelby […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Juul to pay nearly $440M to settle states’ teen vaping probe