Jun 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

North Carolina announces $40 million settlement in lawsuit against Juul

A sign advertising JUUL products is displayed in a store on December 19, 2019 in New York City.

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a $40 million settlement agreement with e-cigarette giant Juul Labs on Monday, making it the first state to "hold Juul accountable," Stein said.

Why it matters: North Carolina was the first state to sue Juul in May 2019, alleging the company unlawfully marked and sold its products to youth. At least nine other states followed suit, opening cases against the company, the Raleigh News and Observer reported.

  • In May, the court ruled the company should be "subject to the most extreme sanctions requested by state attorneys."
  • The settlement announced Monday resolves the litigation and requires the e-cigarette giant to pay $13 million within 30 days.
  • The rest of the money is to be paid within a six-year period, with the money going toward helping teens addicted to Juul's product.

Between the lines: The resolution also forces Juul to change how it does business in North Carolina. Those changes include:

  • Not targeting advertising to youth, including on social media.
  • Not claiming that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative than cigarettes.
  • Requiring that products are sold behind counters.
  • Maintaining a secret shopper program to ensure measures are followed.

What they're saying: A spokesperson for Juul said the settlement “is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers."

  • "[W]e support the Attorney General’s desire to deploy funds to generate appropriate science to support North Carolina’s public health interventions to reduce underage use."

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