Juul Labs Inc, the e-cigarette manufacturer, is required to pay $462 million to 6 states and Washington, DC, in what is described as the largest multistate agreement to date with the company for its alleged contributions to the dramatic rise in underage e-cigarette use across the country.
The announcement was made the by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James who led the settlement with California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
As part of the agreement New York will receive $112.7 million which will be used to support “underage vaping abatement programs across the state,” according to the AG’s press release.
“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 James. “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.”
In addition to the monetary penalty, the settlement requires Juul to put in place multiple safeguards that will prevent minors from underage vaping, according to the release (Figure, below). The company must ensure all Juul products are secured behind retail store counters and now must comply with “the most stringent restrictions” on how the company markets, sells, and distributes its products.
According to a company statement, Juul labs has to date provided more than $1 billion in settlements with 47 states and says the current agreement “represents another critical part in our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the company’s past.
“The terms of the agreement, like prior settlements, provide financial resources to further combat underage use and develop cessation programs and reflect our current business practices, which were implemented as part of our company-wide reset in the fall of 2019,” the company said. “Since then, underage use of Juul products has declined by 95% based on the National Youth Tobacco Survey.”
“For too long, Juul has gotten away with deceptively hooking young people on nicotine. Today’s settlement puts an end to those nefarious practices and invests in a healthier New York,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “I’m grateful to Attorney General James and her team for spending years working to hold Juul accountable and curb vaping’s rise in youth.”