HealthDay News — Juul Labs said Tuesday it will pay $438.5 million, without acknowledging wrongdoing, to settle dozens of lawsuits filed over company practices that may have fueled widespread vaping among American teens.
“This settlement with 34 states and territories is a significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past,” the company said in a statement. “With today’s announcement, we have settled with 37 states and Puerto Rico, and appreciate efforts by Attorneys General to deploy resources to combat underage use.”
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong applauded the news. “We think that this will go a long way in stemming the flow of youth vaping,” Tong said during a news conference Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “We are under no illusions and cannot claim that it will stop youth vaping. It continues to be an epidemic. It continues to be a huge problem. But we have essentially taken a big chunk out of what was once a market leader.”
Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration is still deciding whether it will allow Juul to sell its products in this country. After the agency issued a ban on the company’s vaping products in June, Juul appealed the decision and the court ruled that the company could continue to sell some of its products until the appeal has been heard in court.
In the latest investigation conducted by about 3 dozen states, it was found that Juul appealed to young people with its youthful models, free electronic cigarette samples, and flavors like creme brulee and mango. Not only that, about 45% of the company’s Twitter followers were aged 13 to 17 years old. Tuesday’s settlement would prohibit Juul from practices that include marketing to youth, funding education in schools, or misrepresenting its products’ nicotine levels, though the company has already changed some of what it does following pressure from parents and public officials.
Settlement funds will be paid over 6 to 10 years, The Times reported. In Connecticut, the state plans to use its $16 million share for cessation programs for vaping and nicotine and treatment programs for addiction. Texas is receiving $43 million. Virginia will get $16.6 million.