Vaping company settles lawsuit for $438.5 million | Lifestyle | islandernews.com

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After more than 35 states joined forces to investigate Juul Labs, the company has agreed to a settlement of $438.5 million to settle allegations that their sales and marketing tactics have been largely responsible for the country’s teenage vaping crisis.

As part of the settlement, Juul Labs did not admit to any wrongdoing, but said in a statement on Tuesday that in the midst of waiting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) to decide whether or not they can keep selling their products, they want to “resolve issues from the past,” adding that the terms of the agreement’s “aligned with our current business practices which we started to implement after our companywide reset in the fall of 2019.”

Juul has positioned themselves as the helping cigarette smokers quit and transition into what they consider a less damaging alternative. “We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes — the No. 1 cause of preventable death — while combating underage use,” they said.

When the vaping crisis was at its peak a few years ago, the company took steps such as halting the sale of flavored pods, which commonly appealed to teenagers, and tweaking their marketing practices to try to respond to the backlash they were receiving from concerned kids, parents, doctors, and government officials.

Before their “reset” in 2019, some of Juul’s marketing methods included social media campaigns, launch parties, and free samples of their products, according to the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.







Vaping company settles lawsuit for $438.5 million

As part of the settlement, Juul Labs must adhere to a number of conditions, including more-restrictively marketing to people under the age of 35, being completely honest about the amount of nicotine in their products, and not allocating any funds to education in schools.

The investigation discovered, as outlined by William Tong, Connecticut’s attorney general, that Juul included mostly younger models in their advertisements, had a social media following constituted almost 50% by minors 13 to 17 years old, and had a “porous” age verification system for consumers.

Other suspicious behavior on behalf of the company was highlighted by Virginia’s attorney general, Jason Miyares, who explained in a statement that besides its method of selling sweet, candy-like flavors that appealed to underage users, the company also gained popularity by designing their vape device in a way that made it significantly easier to hide than other e-cigarette alternatives.

This past June, the F.D.A. banned Juul from selling their cartridges and vape products, revoking their marketing authorization. In July, the F.D.A. temporarily suspended the ban after Juul Labs appealed the decision. Previously, the labs had been banned from promoting their products on Instagram and from selling flavored “pods” or cartridges. Now, Juul’s tobacco and menthol-flavored products are still for sale as the F.D.A. keeps the company under review.

Though the company has settled this lawsuit and a couple others, they still have nine substantial cases that are ongoing. On a smaller scale, Juul Labs is currently looking at around 3,600 lawsuits from individual users and their families, local governments, and the like.

The $438.5 million settlement is set to be paid by Juul Labs over the course of six to ten years. As of right now, the way states will use their shares of the settlement vary. According to Attorney General Tong, Connecticut’s approximate $16.2 million share will fund vaping and nicotine prevention, education, and treatment. Texas predicted it would receive almost $43 million from the settlement, and Virginia around $16.6 million. Other states have also expressed their intentions to put their shares towards vaping and tobacco consumption-related prevention measures.

The states and territories who were involved in the settlement are: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


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