ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has ordered Juul Labs to pay $438.5 million to 33 states and Puerto Rico following a two-year probe into the company’s marketing and sales tactics, reports the Wall Street Journal. The investigation found that Juul deliberately marketed its products to underage youth.
Under the settlement, Juul can no longer show people under 35 in its marketing materials, product placements in film and television and on social media. It also cannot sell Juul-branded merchandise or fund education programs in schools.
The investigation opened in 2020 by 39 states, and last year, Juul settled with Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and Washington state and paid $87 million. The company has thousands of other lawsuits filed against it, reports the Journal, including nine cases brought by attorneys general.
Juul Labs called the settlement “a significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past,” in a statement released yesterday. “The terms of the agreement are aligned with our current business practices which we started to implement after our company-wide reset in the fall of 2019. With today’s announcement, we have settled with 37 states and Puerto Rico, and appreciate efforts by Attorneys General to deploy resources to combat underage use,” Juul Labs stated.
“We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes—the number one cause of preventable death—while combating underage use,” the statement said.
In late June, the FDA issued MDOs for all JUUL products currently sold in the U.S., and the notice called for the removal of JUUL products from the U.S. market. Shortly after, a federal appeals court granted Juul Labs an emergency administrative stay of the FDA’s MDOs, pending further order from the court. JUUL products can continue to be marketed for retail sale while Juul Labs pursues legal remedies.
Since then, the FDA suspended its ban on JUUL vaping products while the company appeals the agency’s decision, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has agreed to delay Juul’s case until the FDA completes its reevaluation of JUUL products.
In its September 6 statement, Juul Labs commented on the appeal. “We recently submitted an administrative appeal, based on science and evidence, to FDA, demonstrating that its marketing denial order (MDO) of our products was substantively and procedurally flawed and should be rescinded. We believe that once the FDA does a complete review of all of the science and evidence presented, as required by law, and without political interference, we should receive marketing authorization. As we go through the FDA’s administrative appeals process, we continue to offer our products to adult smokers throughout the U.S.”
NACS filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in support of Juul’s petition for a stay.
NACS argued that the immediate removal of JUUL products would “wreak havoc” on the entire industry, upend an important segment of the economy, endanger countless jobs and impede small businesses’ ability to operate.