Juul Labs has agreed to pay $40 million to the state of North Carolina to resolve a lawsuit alleging that the vaping startup targeted underage users.
The lawsuit by the North Carolina attorney general was slated to go to trial this July, one of hundreds of similar cases brought against the e-cigarette company by state officials, school districts and young people. Those cases are still pending.
North Carolina’s lawsuit alleged that Juul designed and deliberately marketed its e-cigarettes to attract teenagers and misrepresented the potency of their nicotine.
Juul has said that it didn’t target young people and is working to regain public trust.
As part of the settlement, announced by state AG Josh Stein, Juul agreed not to sell sweet and fruity flavors, which the vaping company voluntarily stopped selling in the United States in 2019, unless authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
A trove of Juul’s internal documents will be deposited at a North Carolina university and will be made available to the public by July 2022. The settlement funds, to be paid over six years, will support scientific research on youth vaping cessation and curbing youth usage.
“We look forward to working with Attorney General Stein and other manufacturers on the development of potential industrywide marketing practices based on science and evidence,” a Juul spokesperson said. “In addition, we support the Attorney General’s desire to deploy funds to generate appropriate science to support North Carolina’s public health interventions to reduce underage use.”
Juul didn’t admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
Source: Wall Street Journal