Juul to pay $40M in North Carolina teen vaping suit settlement

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina was the first state to sue the e-cigarette maker JUUL, saying it targeted children. Now, the company agrees to pay the state $40 million to settle the case.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein sued JUUL in 2019. He claims the company picked certain flavors that would appeal to young people. He also says the e-cig maker used social media and sponsorships aimed at children.

Teen use of e-cigarettes skyrocketed more than 70% after Juul’s launch in 2015, leading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to declare an “epidemic” of underage vaping among teenagers. Health experts said the unprecedented increase risked hooking a generation of young people on nicotine, an addictive chemical that is harmful to the developing brain.

On Monday, JUUL agreed to settle for $40 million over the next six years. Stein says that money will go for programs to help kids hooked on the product and to prevent others from starting.

“This win will go a long way in keeping Juul products out of kids’ hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains,” Stein said in a news release.

JUUL has to agree not to sell any new flavors without FDA approval, advertise near schools, use anyone under 35 years old in its ads or sponsor youth events.

Stores that sell JUUL will have to check ID from now on and JUUL will have to run a secret shopper program to make sure retailers are doing that.

“JUUL has to fundamentally change its business conduct: how it operates and is making a substantial payment to the State of North Carolina that’ll be used to help kids kick this habit and for others, to stop them from ever starting,” Stein told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke, one of the first reporters in the country to warn parents about the product.

In a statement to Action 9, JUUL said the settlement is consistent with their ongoing effort to reset the company as they work to combat underage usage.

“This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers. Importantly, we look forward to working with Attorney General Stein and other manufacturers on the development of potential industry-wide marketing practices based on science and evidence. In addition, we support the Attorney General’s desire to deploy funds to generate appropriate science to support North Carolina’s public health interventions to reduce underage use,” JUUL emailed Stoogenke.

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The company said they are working to “earn trust through action.”

In a statement to Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke, JUUL said over the last two years, it has stopped distribution of non-tobacco, non-menthol flavored products in advance of FDA guidance and stopped all mass marketing advertising.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.