Juul Ordered to Pay $438.5 Million Settlement Over Underage Marketing Charges

Electronic cigarette maker Juul has just inked a settlement deal to conclude a two-year investigation regarding its sales and marketing practices. According to announcements coming out of several US states, in the first week of September, the investigation argues that Juul deliberately marketed their nicotine products to young people, despite the fact, of course, that it is illegal to sell e-cigarette products to children in the United States.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton describes “marketing efforts” as launch parties, free samples, social media campaigns, and the employment of younger-looking models in advertising efforts. Paxton also alleges that Juul’s nicotine products can easily hide behind their attractive packaging; and many of their flavors—like mint and mango—are also attractive to younger consumers.

Unfortunately, Juul has also been found to be a specific brand of nicotine product that is popular among kids and teens.

In a statement regarding the settlement, Juul made sure to emphasize that they understand their responsibility to properly market to adults and prevent distribution to minors. This includes restricting marketing to customers 35 and older, limiting store displays, enforcing retail compliance protocols, and limiting online and retail sales overall. Specifically, they note, “We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes—the number one cause of preventable death—while combating underage use.”

Furthermore, the company has commented, “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. As we go through the FDA’s administrative appeals process, we continue to offer our products to adult smokers throughout the US.”

The settlement has a value of $438.5 million, which will be paid out over a period of six and ten years. These payments will be sent out to people in more than 30 states, including: Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wyoming, Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The settlement will also include the US territory of Puerto Rico.