New York is set to receive a hefty check from Juul. State Attorney General Letitia James announced a $112.7 million settlement from the e-cigarette company for marketing practices aimed at targeting minors at a press conference on Wednesday.
The full settlement is $462 million will go to six states and Washington, D.C. – making it the largest multistate settlement from the company. In New York, the funds will help young New Yorkers quit vaping and smoking. The settlement also requires Juul to secure products behind retail store counters and verify the age of consumers that directly sell or promote its products online.
“JUUL lit a nationwide public health crisis by putting addictive products in the hands of minors and convincing them that it’s harmless – today they are paying the price for the harm they caused,” James said.
In 2019, the attorney general’s office announced a lawsuit against the company – alleging that Juul had been deceptive and misleading in the marketing of its e-cigarettes, which the office said contributed to the ongoing youth vaping epidemic plaguing the state. The attorney general’s office pointed to the company's use of bright, colorful images of attractive, young models to attract underage users of the product. At the time, the state health department found that of the 1 million New Yorkers who used Juul products, 220,000 were under the age of 18. Along with James, the attorney generals of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, and Massachusetts celebrated the settlement at the press conference.
The Food and Drug Administration has called teenage vaping a public health concern, raising alarm about the addictive chemical nicotine and its impact on developing brains and future substance habits. While Juul was one of the first vapes to become popular with teens, several other brands are now popular, including Puff Bar, Elf Bar, Vuse and SMOK.
A spokesperson for Juul said the company admitted to no wrongdoing as part of the settlement. “With this settlement, we are nearing total resolution of the company’s historical legal challenges and securing certainty for our future … since our company-wide reset in the fall of 2019, underage use of Juul products has declined by 95% based on the National Youth Tobacco Survey,” the spokesperson said.
As part of the settlement, the e-cigarette company must also abide by strict sales and marketing requirements including refraining from marketing directly or indirectly to people under the age of 35, limiting the number of retail purchases a consumer can make, performing compliance checks at retail stores in the state and add money to a document depository aimed at informing the public on the company’s role in creating a public health crisis.
“Too many young New Yorkers are struggling to quit vaping and there is no doubt that JUUL played a central role in the nationwide vaping epidemic. Today’s agreement will help young New Yorkers put their vapes down for good and ensure that future generations understand the harms of vaping,” James said.