Sheesh, nearly half a billion will be paid out to 34 states in a settlement agreement surrounding Juul’s marketing of vapes to teens.
The agreement was announced on Tuesday between the parties and resolves a two-year investigation into e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Lab’s marketing and sales practices.
The settlement will also force the company to comply with a series of strict injunctive terms that severely limits its marketing and sales practices, ABC News reported.
The company is accused of misrepresenting its product, claiming it was a smoking cessation device but did not have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to make that claim, according to the investigation.
Traditional cigarette smoking has significantly plummeted among youth, but vaping has skyrocketed, undermining national progress toward reducing tobacco use.
The National Youth Tobacco Survey conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that more than 5 million youth said that they had used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, which was a notable increase from the 3.6 million the year before.
The FDA has since removed Juul products from the U.S. Market this year.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, one of those states involved in the settlement, slammed Juul by saying the company became the dominant player in the vape market “by willfully engaging in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them to purchase and are unhealthy for youth to use.”
The investigation revealed that Juul relentlessly marketed to minors with launch parties, advertisements that used young and trendy-looking models, social media posts, and free samples.
It also marketed a technology-focused, sleek design that could be easily concealed. The company went a step further by marketing products in flavors that typically attract underage users. Juul is accused of manipulating the chemical makeup of its product so that the vapor would be less harsh on the throats of the young and inexperienced users, according to the investigators.
Juul relied on age-verification techniques that it knew were ineffective, Tong added.
The investigation further uncovered that the manufacturer’s original packaging was also misleading because it didn’t disclose that it contained nicotine and implied that it had a lower concentration than it actually did.
The settlement says consumers were also led to believe that consuming one Juul pod was equal to smoking one pack of cigarettes.