Juul pays $14.5 million to settle Arizona vaping lawsuit


E-cigarette giant Juul Labs will pay Arizona $14.5 million and has announced it will not market to young people in the state to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit.

The settlement announced Tuesday by Attorney General Mark Brnovich is the second that Juul has reached with state prosecutors. It ends a lawsuit that the Republican US Senate candidate filed in January 2020 against Juul and another e-cigarette maker, accusing them of illegally targeting the sex industry. children in their marketing activities.

Arizona previously received a $22.5 million judgment against defunct vaping product maker Eonsmoke but did not and is unlikely to collect any money.

Juul Labs acknowledged no wrongdoing in its settlement of the case and called it “another step in our ongoing efforts to reset our company”. The company stopped all advertising before Brnovich sued and ended the sale of all flavored products except menthol.

Juul has faced lawsuits from multiple states over the marketing of its products, which it sees as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. In June, it reached a similar settlement with North Carolina’s attorney general, including a $40 million settlement and a promise not to market to minors and to increase enforcement of retailers. sell its products. Lawsuits with several other states remain.

E-cigarettes are touted as safer than cigarettes because while they provide the addictive nicotine, they do not produce smoke that contains carcinogens. But they are still addictive and dangerous to health, especially for teenagers whose brains are still developing.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first e-cigarette last month, saying RJ Reynolds’ product has clear benefits as it can reduce the use of conventional cigarettes. . Juul’s product is still under FDA review. Some adulterated vaping products have caused serious health effects.

All but $2 million of the $14.5 million Arizona settlement will be used for programs that discourage the use of vaping products, including education and addiction programs designed designed to prevent nicotine use and addiction among young people. Juul also agreed in the ordinance to implement a rigorous program of retailer monitoring, which will check the compliance of at least 25 stores per month across Arizona for two years and take action against those illegal sale to underage people to smoke.

The agreement requires Juul not to advertise near schools or target anyone under the age of 21, and not to use social media for marketing. It is not advertising at all.

Another $2 million will go into a state account that the attorney general uses to fund consumer fraud investigations.

“Today’s settlement holds Juul accountable for its irresponsible marketing efforts that pushed Arizona’s minors to nicotine and subsequent addiction,” Brnovich said in a statement. “Fighting the youth vaping pandemic remains a top priority for our office with both our covert Counter Strike program and zero tolerance for fraudulent or deceptive vaping companies. .”

Juul said in its statement about the Arizona settlement that it will “continue to work with federal and state stakeholders to promote a fully regulated, science-based marketplace for vapor products.”

It said it would continue to support anti-smoking group “Tobacco 21” and enforcement actions against illegal vaping products that “jeopardize the harm reduction potential of vaping products.” position.”

The company, which is partly owned by tobacco giant Altria, said it was in discussions to settle other states’ lawsuits.

Youth evaporation has exploded in recent years, drawing concern from health professionals and federal and state regulators. But an FDA report published in September found that the number of young people learning to vaping plummeted as schools closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the second consecutive year-over-year decline for youth vaping and follows the enactment of new federal legislation in 2019 raising the purchase age for all tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. Soon after, the FDA banned nearly all flavors from small cartridge-based e-cigarettes, products blamed for the massive surge in teen use.

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