JUUL to Pay $462M to Resolve Vaping Nicotine Addiction Lawsuits Filed by Six States
JUUL Labs has reached a $462 million settlement to resolve teen vaping addiction lawsuits brought by six states, which accused the manufacturer of contributing to the epidemic of e-cigarette use by teens in recent years.
The JUUL settlement was announced in a press release issued this week by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who co-led negotiations for the agreement together with California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
The deal will resolve claims brought by six states and the District of Columbia, who each claimed JUUL used deceptive and misleading advertising to draw in underage customers.
JUUL vape pens were introduced in 2015 with a design that appeared similar to a USB drive, allowing teens to hide their vaping habit from parents and school officials. After JUUL Labs aggressively advertised a variety of fruity and sweet JUUL flavors through social media influencers, the e-cigarette quickly became the most widely used among teens through the U.S. over the past decade, and fueled a vaping epidemic in the U.S., which has resulted in costs for states nationwide.
Thousands of families and young adults, as well as communities and states, have filed individual and class action JUUL lawsuits, alleging that the company’s actions left teens with a life-long nicotine addiction. Claims have also been brought by local school districts, which have been left with increased costs dealing with teen vaping problems in the United States.
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“JUUL lit a nationwide public health crisis by pitting 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 the press release. “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.”
This latest settlement will resolve claims filed by New York, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Mexico.
The $462 million settlement agreement includes restrictions on JUUL sales, which bars the company from marketing directly or indirectly to youths, preventing the company from using anyone under the age of 35 in its promotional materials, limits the amount of retail and online purchases an individual can make, restricts product placements, promotional sales and requires the company to treat synthetic nicotine the same as nicotine.
The agreement also requires JUUL Labs to add $5 million to a document depository, along with millions of documents that will inform the public on how JUUL is responsible for creating a public health crisis.
The settlement follows an agreement reached in January, which would resolve thousands of lawsuits filed by individuals for about $1.7 billion. That followed a $438.5 million settlement with 40 other states in September
JUUL Labs has not admitted wrongdoing as part of any of the settlement agreements.
JUUL Ban Still Under Consideration
The settlement agreement was reached only a few months after the FDA announced it intends to ban JUUL products from the U.S. market, due to an inability by the manufacturer to prove that the products can be sold in a way that does not threaten public health.
However, almost immediately after the ban was announced, JUUL filed a lawsuit to delay the ruling to give the company time to respond. The FDA agreed and has delayed the ban from going into effect for the time being.
The FDA has agreed to conduct additional reviews of the company’s application to allow its products to be marketed in the meantime.
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