Top Vaping Company Admits Marketing to Underage Consumers, Pays Out $438.5 Million in Settlement
By Yehudit Garmaise
Juul Labs, a top vaping company, admitted marketing its harmful products to underage consumers when the e-cigarette maker agreed to pay at least $438.5 million in a settlement with more than 30 states and Puerto Rico.
Sleek vaporizers, fruity flavors, and hip marketing fuel the trend in vaping by students in middle and high school, school administrators and regulators argued in their lawsuit, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“[Juul] relentlessly marketed vaping products to underage youth,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a news conference Tuesday, citing the toll that underage vaping has taken on families.
After 39 states launched an investigation into Juul in 2020, the company is now barred from depicting anyone who is younger than 35 in its marketing, advertising on billboards and social media, and product placements in film and television.
Juul is also prohibited from selling branded merchandise and funding education programs in schools.
While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, many of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies e-cigarettes as "tobacco products."
In June, the FDA ordered Juul to pull its products from the U.S. market, but the e-cigarette company caused the FDA to suspend its ban by filing an appeal.
Since 2021, Juul has agreed to pay a total of $87 million in settlements with Louisiana, Arizona, North Carolina and Washington state, which all brought lawsuits against the company. Thousands more lawsuits against Juul are pending, including cases brought by nine other attorneys general.
In December 2019, the US made it illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco products: including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes, to minors.
Last year, however, after Juul discontinued its fruity flavors and marketing aimed at young consumers, the e-cigarette brand Puff Bar overtook Juul as the vaping brand most popular among middle- and high-school students.
Photo credit: Juul