ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to the Office of the New York State Attorney General, JUUL Labs Inc. (JUUL) will pay $462M to six states, including the District of Columbia, for its alleged role in the underage e-cigarette and vaping epidemic. It is the largest multistate agreement with JUUL and its former directors and executives.
New York will receive $112.7M to support underage vaping abatement programs statewide. As part of the agreement, JUUL will be required to secure its products behind retail store counters and verify the age of customers that directly sell or promote their products online. Several stringent restrictions have been placed on JUUL’s marketing, sales, and distribution practices as part of this agreement to prevent underage vaping. The other states involved in the agreement include California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.
Attorney General Letitia James sued JUUL in November 2019 for alleged deceptive and misleading marketing, glamorizing vaping with youth models and flavors that appealed to minors. New York will receive the $112.7M over eight years.
The restrictions placed on JUUL’s sales and marketing abilities include the following:
- Refrain from any marketing that directly or indirectly targets youth, including using anyone under the age of 35 in promotional material or funding, operating youth education/prevention campaigns, or sponsoring school-related activities,
- Limit the amount of retail and online purchases an individual can make,
- Perform regular retail compliance checks at five percent of New York’s retail stores that sell JUUL’s products for at least four years,
- Treat synthetic nicotine as nicotine,
- Refrain from providing free or nominally priced JUUL pods as samples to consumers,
- Exclude product placement in virtual reality systems, and
- Increase funding to a document depository by up to $5 million and add millions of relevant documents to the depository to inform the public on how JUUL created a public health crisis.
“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,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “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. I thank my fellow attorneys general for their collaboration on this effort to protect the health and well-being of our communities.”
“With this settlement, we are nearing total resolution of the company’s historical legal challenges and securing certainty for our future,” said a spokesperson for JUUL. “We have now settled with 47 states and territories, providing over $1 billion to participating states, in addition to our global resolution of the U.S. private litigation. 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. Now we are positioned to dedicate even greater focus on our path forward to maximize the value and impact of our product technology and scientific foundation. Our priorities remain to secure authorization of our PMTAs based on the science and lead the category with innovation to accelerate our mission and advance tobacco harm reduction for over 31 million adult smokers in the U.S. and over 1 billion adult smokers worldwide.“