THURSDAY, April 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) – Juul Labs on Wednesday reached a $462 million settlement with several states over the aggressive marketing of its electronic cigarettes to minors.
This latest settlement includes New York, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Mexico.
Juul settled with West Virginia earlier this week. The company has already agreed already to pay out more than $1 billion to 47 states and territories, Juul Labs said in a statement.
“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,” Juul spokesman Austin Finan told the New York Times. The latest settlement represents a near “total resolution of the company’s historical legal challenges and securing certainty for our future,” he added.
Finan noted that federal data shows that underage use of Juul products has declined 95% since 2019.
State attorneys general in New York and California alleged that their investigations found that Juul executives knew their marketing was attracting teens, the Times reported.
“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,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement on the settlement.
While the company hasn’t admitted wrongdoing, its payments to plaintiffs in earlier lawsuits will be used to fight underage e-cigarette use and create smoking cessation programs.
Even with progress, about 2.5 million adolescents continue to report using e-cigarettes at rates higher than adults, the Times reported.
About 4.5% of adults use e-cigarettes, compared to about 9% of middle and high school students and 14% of high school students, according to a 2022 federal government survey, the Times said.
Juul must not market its products to youths, according to the settlement. It also can’t offer free or “nominally priced” products to consumers, the Times reported.
Juul still waits for a U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision on whether it will authorize sales of company products. The FDA is not enforcing its requirement for premarket clearance, so the products are still available, the Times reported.
Juul isn’t entirely finished with lawsuits: A Minnesota trial began a few weeks ago.
“They baited, deceived and addicted a whole new generation of kids after Minnesotans slashed youth smoking rates down to the lowest level in a generation,” Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison told the court, according to the Times.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on e-cigarette risks.
SOURCE: New York Times