Juul Settles Arizona Youth Marketing Case

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    Juul Labs has agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle a lawsuit by Arizona accusing it of fueling a vaping epidemic by marketing its products to minors.

    The settlement, announced Nov. 23 by the office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, provides for $12.5 million to be set aside for anti-addiction programs. The remaining $2 million will go to a general consumer protection fund and litigation expenses.

    As part of the consent judgment, pending court approval, Juul has committed to company-wide changes to its business practices to ensure that its products will not be marketed or sold to Arizona’s youth.

    “Today’s settlement holds Juul accountable for its irresponsible marketing efforts that pushed Arizona minors toward nicotine and the addiction that follows,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a statement. “Combatting the youth vaping epidemic remains a priority for our office with both our undercover Counter Strike program and zero tolerance for vaping companies that mislead or deceive.”

    Juul said the settlement is another step in its ongoing effort to “reset” its company and applauded the Attorney General’s plan to deploy resources to address underage use. “We will continue working with federal and state stakeholders to advance a fully regulated, science-based marketplace for vapor products,” the company wrote in a statement. “As part of that process, we will continue to support Tobacco 21 and enforcement against illicit and illegally marketed products, such as certain disposables, that jeopardize the harm reduction potential of alternative vapor products.”

    The company said it remains in discussions with other key stakeholders about litigation related to its past as part of its commitment to earn trust.

    In June, Juul settled a similar case brought by North Carolina.

    The company still faces more than 2,000 lawsuits, including from state and local governments, accusing the company of creating a spike in nicotine addiction among teens by using fruit-flavored liquid pods, social media campaigns and free giveaways.

    Altria Group, which in 2018 acquired a 35 percent stake in Juul, is also named as a defendant in many of the lawsuits.