Juul Labs will pay $438.5 million to settle a probe by 34 US states that found the vaping company marketed to underage smokers, state officials announced September 6, 2022

Juul agreed to pay $438M in US to market vapes to youth

Juul Labs to pay $438.5 million to settle investigation of 34 US states that found vape company being sold to underage smokers, government officials announce September 6, 2022 – Copyright AFP/File Patrick T. FALLON

Juul Labs will pay $438.5 million to settle a 34-state investigation that found the vape company was being sold to underage smokers, state officials announced Tuesday.

Under the agreement, which is still in its final stages, Juul will make payments over the next 6-10 years to select US states and will not use cartoons in ads or otherwise offer them to younger consumers.

The investigation was launched two years ago by officials from the states of Connecticut, Oregon, and Texas, and other states have joined in.

The investigation “revealed that Juul deliberately engaged in an advertising campaign targeted at youth, despite the fact that its e-cigarettes are prohibited for purchase and are harmful to the health of children,” the Oregon Department of Justice said in a press release.

Juul “has been steadily marketed to underage users with launch parties, ads featuring young and trendy looking models, social media posts and free samples,” the press release said, adding that the company used age verification methods “which, like she knew were ineffective.”

“The behavior that led to this agreement was reprehensible and demonstrates pure corporate greed at its most destructive,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement.

“Just when we were starting to make major strides in reducing tobacco use among our youth, Juul came along and hooked another generation.”

Juul called the settlement “a significant part of our ongoing commitment to addressing the problems of the past,” a Juul spokesperson said.

“We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfill our mission of eliminating cigarettes for adult smokers – the leading cause of preventable death – while combating underage smoking.”

Juul argued that vaping products could solve the problem of the harmful health effects of regular combustible cigarettes.

Juul has been blamed for the rise in young people smoking fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes, which the company stopped selling in 2019.

In January 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated that it would be illegal to sell e-cigarettes with flavors other than tobacco or menthol unless specifically authorized by the government.

According to a September 2021 government report, more than two million American middle and high school students reported they were vapers in 2021, with eight out of ten using flavored e-cigarettes.

On June 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was ordering all products made by Juul Labs from the market after finding the vaping giant failed to address certain safety concerns.

The next day, a US court suspended the FDA following an appeal by Juul.

A Juul spokesperson said the agency has filed an appeal with the FDA, adding “we continue to offer our products to adult smokers throughout the US.”

Juul claims that its products meet US public health standards.

Juul products that remain on sale include the Juul smoking device and menthol and “Virginia Tobacco” cartridges.

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