• April 19, 2024

Altria to Face First Juul Marketing Trial

 Altria to Face First Juul Marketing Trial
Photo: steheap

Altria Group is set to face trial April 24 in a lawsuit by San Francisco’s public school district accusing the company of fueling a teen vaping epidemic through its investment in Juul Labs, reports Reuters. The tobacco giant owned a 35 percent share in Juul Labs from late 2018 until March 2023, when it exchanged its stake for license to certain Juul Lab’s heated tobacco intellectual properties.

Through its lawsuit, the San Francisco Unified School District wants to make Altria pay for the cost of tackling student vaping on school grounds.

Thousands of individuals, local government entities and states have filed similar cases against Altria. U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco, who presides over much of the litigation, chose the San Francisco school district’s as a test case.

Suggesting the San Francisco case lacks merit, Altria vowed to defend itself vigorously. “Most of the allegations raised in this suit occurred years before we made a minority economic investment in Juul,” the company said in a statement on April 20.

The April 24 trial will mark the second time one of those cases goes before a jury. An earlier trial brought by the state of Minnesota, ended in a settlement, though the terms have yet to be disclosed.