JUUL Will Pay 40 Million in Lawsuit
If you have been following our blogs, or ever heard us speak on the topic of JUULs and e-cigarettes in general, you will know how insidious the marketing techniques of the tobacco industry can be. We have spoken for a long time that e-cigarette companies and JUUL in particular tend to market their products to youth. With bright colors, fun flavors, and celebrity/influencer endorsements, it is hard to imagine they are a product intended for adults. Over the last few years, however, people have started to notice. Many companies, JUUL included, have been enthralled in lawsuits. On Monday, June 28, North Carolina state attorneys announced JUUL Labs will pay $40 million and make changes to its business practices to settle the first state lawsuit that alleged it marketed to teens.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2019 and claimed that JUUL Labs marketed their products towards children and mislead the public regarding the dangers of e-cigarettes. The order issued Monday will restrict the e-cigarette manufacturer’s sales and advertising in the state and provide funds to help those addicted to e-cigarettes.
North Carolina Attorney General, Josh Stein, “Under this consent order, Juul cannot sell mint. It cannot sell mango, it cannot sell crème brulee, or any other flavor,” [without authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration].
“Juul must abandon all marketing strategies and content that appeals to young people. Juul will be prohibited from influencer advertising, outdoor advertising near schools, sponsoring sporting events and concerts, and most importantly, most social media advertising,” he said. “JUUL cannot use anyone under the age of 35 years in their advertising. Juul cannot make any claims that its e-cigarettes are safer or better for your health than combustible cigarettes.”
The consent order also requires that Juul institute a barcode age-verification system of IDs at places where its products are sold, and that this system be tested through a retailer compliance program using mystery shoppers at 1,000 stores per year. For online sales, the company is ordered to restrict sales to individuals to no more than two devices per month, 10 devices per year and no more than 60 pods per month.
The settlement money of 40 million dollars will go toward youth affected by e-cigarettes and will be paid over six years.
“This win will go a long way in keeping JUUL products out of kids’ hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains. I’m incredibly proud of my team for their hard work on behalf of North Carolina families. We’re not done — we still have to turn the tide on a teen vaping epidemic that was borne of JUUL’s greed,” Stein said in a statement.
And it really is a win, it may be a small win on a long road, but it is a win nonetheless. Every day, thousands of teens will try an e-cigarette for the first time, possibly enticed by their friends, by the publicity around them, or by the faulty marketing that claims that these products are safe. The best thing we can do is keep fighting the fight in whatever way we can. Parents, talk to your teens and youth that you know. Politicians, keep making positive changes and stricter rules on these companies. And our team here at Prevention Plus will continue trying to spread truthful, easily understood information to youth in a way that is fun to learn and will hopefully help them make positive changes in their life.