Vaping company Juul Labs, which has become one of the top e-cigarette companies in the US, will pay $438.5 million to settle an investigation into its marketing to minors. Juul’s marketing is also constrained by the agreement with more than 30 states, for example by prohibiting the use of people under the age of 35 in its advertisements.
Juul described the agreement as “a significant part” of its efforts to settle “past-time issues.”
The company is also battling a US import ban on its goods.
Due to a lack of information regarding the effects on health, the US Food and Drug Administration announced in June that it would prohibit the sale of Juul products. While the company files an appeal, the measure is on hold.
It is still being litigated in some other states, as well as in individual lawsuits brought by families and other people. Juul stated that it was “focused on the future” and that the terms of the settlement announced on Tuesday were consistent with its marketing strategies following a “company-wide reset” in the fall of 2019.
“We believe that once the FDA does a complete review of all of the science and evidence presented, as required by law, and without political interference, we should receive marketing authorization,” the firm said in a statement.
Juul was widely held responsible for the rapid rise in teen vaping. According to a federal survey, more than 25 per cent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, though that percentage has since decreased.
According to Connecticut attorney general William Tong, who announced the settlement on Tuesday, the investigation into Juul’s marketing found that the company had “relentlessly marketed vaping products to underage youth” despite the fact that such purchases are prohibited in the US.
He claimed that the business had also used age verification techniques that it was aware were ineffective and had concealed the fact that its pods contained addictive nicotine.
“Juul’s cynically calculated advertising campaigns created a new generation of nicotine addicts,” he said.
The settlement’s funds will be distributed over a six- to ten-year period with the intention of reducing tobacco use.
(Adapted from AlJazeera.com)