The multi state lawsuit and investigation has accused Juul of having in place a non-effective age verification system for its products, due to which 45% of its Twitter followers were aged between 13 and 17. To this effect, Juul has tentatively agreed to pay $438.5 million to settle the investigation.
“We think that this will go a long way in stemming the flow of youth vaping,” said William Tong, Connecticut’s Attorney General, at a news conference on Tuesday. “We are under no illusions and cannot claim that it will stop youth vaping. It continues to be an epidemic. It continues to be a huge problem. But we have essentially taken a big chunk out of what was once a market leader.”
The suing states
The 34 suing states were Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
“Hawaii’s youth have been disproportionately affected by the nationwide vaping epidemic,” said Hawaii’s Attorney General Shikada. “This settlement holds JUUL accountable for its targeted and misleading marketing and aims to prevent JUUL from getting more of our children addicted to its products.”
The settlement will resolve the lawsuit filed by the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General against JUUL in 2020. The lawsuit alleged that JUUL used marketing strategies that targeted teenagers, making its products seem desirable, and less addictive than they in fact are.
Maui Now reported that Hawaii is represented in the lawsuit by the Honolulu law firm Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher, and the national law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.
“As part of the settlement, JUUL has agreed to refrain from:
- Youth marketing
- Funding education programs
- Depicting persons under age 35 in any marketing
- Use of cartoons
- Paid product placement
- Sale of brand name merchandise
- Sale of flavors not approved by FDA
- Allowing access to websites without age verification on landing page
- Representations about nicotine not approved by FDA
- Misleading representations about nicotine content
- Sponsorships/naming rights
- Advertising in outlets unless 85% audience is adult
- Advertising on billboards
- Public transportation advertising
- Social media advertising (other than testimonials by individuals over the age of 35, with no health claims)
- Use of paid influencers
- Direct-to-consumer ads unless age-verified
- Free samples”