Hartford, Conn. (AP) — 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 that have long been blamed for a national boom. Teen vaping.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced the deal on behalf of the states and Puerto Rico on Tuesday. joined together To examine Juul’s early promotions in 2020 and claims about the safety and benefits of its technology as a smoking alternative.
The settlement addresses one of the biggest legal threats facing the beleaguered company, which still faces nine separate lawsuits from other states. Additionally, Juul faces hundreds of individual lawsuits brought by teens and others who say they have become addicted to the company’s vaping products.
According to a statement, the state investigation found that Juul marketed its e-cigarettes to underage teens at launch parties, product giveaways and with ads and social media posts using youth models.
Tong said in a press release, “Through this agreement, we have secured hundreds of millions of dollars to help reduce nicotine use and help Juul to end youth marketing and prohibit underage sales. The strict injunction is forced to accept a series of conditions.”
The $438.5 million will be paid out over a period of six to 10 years. Tong said at least $16 million from Connecticut will go toward vaping prevention and education efforts. Juul previously settled lawsuits in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and Washington.
Most of the limits imposed by Tuesday’s settlement will not affect the practices of Juul, which barred its use of parties, gifts and other promotions after coming under scrutiny several years ago.
E-cigarette use among teens skyrocketed after the launch of Juul in 2015, leading the US Food and Drug Administration to declare an “epidemic” of young age vaping among teens. Health experts said the unprecedented rise put a generation of young people at risk of hooking up on nicotine.
But since 2019 Juul has backed out of most US commercials and pulled its fruit and candy flavors from store shelves.
The biggest setback came earlier this summer when the FDA Ban all Juul e-cigarettes from market. Juul challenged that decision in court, and the FDA has since reopened its scientific review of the company’s technology.
The FDA review is part of a broader effort by regulators to scrutinize the multi-billion dollar vaping industry after years of regulatory delays. The agency has authorized a handful of e-cigarettes for adult smokers looking for a less harmful alternative.
While Juul’s early marketing focused on young, urban consumers, the company has since shifted to offering its product as an alternative nicotine source for older smokers.
“We are focused on our future as we fulfill our mission to wean adult smokers off cigarettes – the number one cause of preventable death – by combating underage use,” the company said in a statement. doing,” the company said in a statement.
Juul has agreed to refrain from several marketing practices as part of the settlement. These include not using cartoons, paying social media influencers, depicting people under the age of 35, advertising on billboards and public transport, and advertising in any outlet as long as 85% of their audience is Don’t be an adult
The deal also includes restrictions on keeping Joule products in-store, age verification on all sales, and limits on online and retail sales.
Juul initially sold its high-nicotine pods in flavors such as mango, mint, and cream. The products became a scourge in American high schools, with students vaping in bathrooms and hallways between classes.
But data from a recent federal survey shows teens are moving away from company. Most teens now prefer disposable e-cigarettes, some of which are sold in sweet, fruity flavours.
Overall, the survey showed a nearly 40% drop in teen vaping rates as many children were forced to learn from home during the pandemic. Still, federal officials cautioned about interpreting the results collected online for the first time rather than in classes.
Peron reported from Washington, DC
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