Juul to pay nearly $440 million to settle teen smoking investigation

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced the deal Tuesday on behalf of the states and Puerto Rico, which met in 2020 to investigate Juul’s early promotions and claims about its technology’s benefits as an alternative to the smoking.

The deal, which includes numerous restrictions on how Juul can market its products, resolves one of the biggest legal threats facing the embattled company, which still faces nine separate lawsuits in other states.

Additionally, Juul is subject to hundreds of personal lawsuits filed on behalf of teenagers and others who claim to have become addicted to the company’s vaping products.

The states investigation found that Juul marketed its e-cigarettes to underage teenagers with launch parties, product giveaways, advertisements and social media posts using young models, according to a statement.

We believe this will go a long way in curbing the (phenomenon) of youth vapingProsecutor Tong said at a press conference at his office in Hartford.

I’m under no illusions and I can’t pretend that this will stop young people from vaping, he said. It continues to be an epidemic. This continues to be a huge problem. But we’ve basically removed a lot of what was once a market leader and, through their conduct, a major offender.

The $438.5 million will be paid over a period of 6 to 10 years. Tong said Connecticut’s disbursement of at least $16 million will go towards vaping prevention and education efforts.

Juul has already settled lawsuits in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and washington state.

The deal’s total amounts to about 25% of Juul’s US sales of $1.9 billion last year. Mr. Tong said it was a agreement in principlewhich means that the states will finalize the settlement documents in the coming weeks.

Restrictions on business practices

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

Teen use of e-cigarettes skyrocketed in the years after Juul’s launch in 2015, prompting the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to declare a epidemic vaping among young people. Health experts have argued that the unprecedented rise risks making a generation of young people addicted to nicotine.

Since 2019, Juul has mostly backed down, dropping all US advertising and removing its fruit and candy flavors from store shelves.

The biggest blow came earlier this summer when the FDA banned all Juul electronic cigarettes from the market. Juul challenged this decision in court and the FDA has since reopened its scientific investigation into the company’s technology.

Electronic cigarettes from Juul, as seen on a counter in a California store.

Photo : Reuters / LUCY NICHOLSON

The investigation of the FDA is part of a broad effort by regulators to police the multi-billion dollar vaping industry after years of delay. The agency has licensed a handful of e-cigarettes from Juul’s competitors for adult smokers looking for a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.

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

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"Nous restons concentrés sur notre avenir alors que nous remplissons notre mission d'éloigner les fumeurs adultes de la cigarette –the leading cause of preventable death– while fighting against underage use”,”text”:”We remain focused on our future as we fulfill our mission to keep adult smokers away from cigarettes – the number one cause of preventable death – while fighting against the use of minors”}}”>We remain focused on our future as we fulfill our mission to keep adult smokers away from cigarettes – the number one cause of preventable death – while fighting underage usethe company said in a statement.

Juul agreed to refrain from a host of business practices as part of the deal. These include not using cartoons, paying social media influencers, depicting people under the age of 35, advertising on billboards and public transport or still place ads in all outlets unless 85% of their audience are adults.

The agreement also includes restrictions on where Juul products can be placed in stores, age verification for all sales, and limits on online and retail sales.

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"Il s'agit de l'un des mandats les plus stricts jamais imposés à une industrie, a déclaré M.Tong, which is extremely important, because at the end of the day, it’s about protecting our children and protecting us all from a very significant public health risk.”,”text”:”This is the “one of the toughest mandates ever imposed on an industry,” Mr. Tong said, “which is hugely important because at the end of the day it’s about protecting our children and protecting us all from a very significant risk to public health.”}}”>This is one of the toughest mandates ever imposed on an industry, Mr. Tong said, which is extremely important. Because at the end of the day, it’s about protecting our children and protecting us all from a very significant risk to public health.

Juul first sold its high nicotine capsules in flavors like mango, mint, and cream. The products have become a plague in American colleges, with students vaping in bathrooms and hallways between classes.

However, data from a recent federal survey shows that teenagers are turning away from business. Many teen vapers now prefer disposable e-cigarettes, some of which continue to be sold in sweet and fruity flavors.

Overall, the survey showed an almost 40% drop in vaping rates among teens, as many young people were forced to learn at home during the pandemic. Still, federal officials cautioned against interpreting the results given that they were collected online for the first time, rather than in classrooms.

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