Juul to pay $439 million to settle youth marketing probe, states say
E-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs agreed to pay $438.5 million to 33 states and Puerto Rico to settle a two-year probe into the company's marketing and sales practices, the attorneys general of Connecticut and Texas announced Tuesday.
Why it matters: The investigation, led by Connecticut, Oregon and Texas, revealed that Juul willfully engaged "in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them to purchase and unhealthy for youth to use," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said.
- The settlement resolves just one of the many investigations and lawsuits against Juul.
What they're saying: "They relentlessly marketed vaping products to underage youth, manipulated their chemical composition to be palatable to inexperienced users, employed an inadequate age verification process, and misled consumers about the nicotine content and addictiveness of its products," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.
- "When I launched this investigation over two years ago, my goal was to make sure JUUL was held liable for any wrongdoing done in the past and ensure that they change direction to fully comply with the law going forward. This settlement helps accomplish both of those priorities,” Paxton said in a statement.
By the numbers: Texas will receive $42.8 million of the $438.5 million, while Connecticut will receive a minimum of $16.2 million paid out by Juul over a period of six to ten years.
- The rest will be divided between Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The big picture: Juul in particular has been blamed for a national increase in teen vaping that's coincided with reversed declines in tobacco use, Axios' Arielle Dreher reports.
- Juul will also have to "severely" reform its marketing and sales practices, in part by refraining from giving out free samples, depicting people under age 35 in marketing and funding education programs, per the agreement.