North Carolina has become the first U.S. state to reach an agreement with Juul on the company’s role in popularizing e-cigarettes among young people.
Juul will pay $ 40 million and make “drastic changes to the way business is conducted” under the consent order, according to a statement Monday from the office of Josh Stein, North Carolina’s attorney general. .
“For years, Juul has been targeting young people, including children, with his highly addictive e-cigarette. It ignited the spark and ignited the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children – one that can be seen at every high school in North Carolina, ”Stein said.
Juul has helped popularize the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional cigarettes, but has been hit with statements that has sparked an increase in e-cigarette use among younger people by orienting their marketing towards them. , and that he was unable to warn of the potential damages.
In addition to North Carolina, attorneys general in 13 states and the District of Columbia have also sued Juul for his marketing claims, including California and New York. A group of 39 states announced last year a coordinated survey of Juul’s marketing practices.
Juul said in a statement that the settlement with North Carolina was “consistent with our continued effort to reset our society and its relationship with our stakeholders, while continuing to fight minor use and progress. the opportunity to reduce harm to adult smokers. “
Under the agreement, Juul will pay $ 40 million over six years to fund programs to help people quit e-cigarettes and prevent addiction, along with other research.
Juul is also committed to changing its business practices in the state to avoid appealing to young people, including any marketing that is aimed at people under the age of 21 and stricter restrictions and requirements. checking for online sales as well as those in physical stores.
In recent years, Juul has had a political backlash and regulatory scrutiny on the marketing and health effects of their products. According to a person familiar with the situation, litigation problems were one reason for the PMI tobacco group in 2019 he moved away from the speeches for a $ 200 billion merger with rival Altria, which had paid $ 12.8 billion for a 35% stake in Juul by the end of 2018.
Following the breakdown of the merger talks, Juul has revised its leadership, and Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, was subsequently forced to take billions of dollars in losses on its investment.
The 2020 national youth tobacco survey, conducted by the U.S. drug regulator and the country’s highest public health agency, showed that of the estimated 4.47 million young people who using any tobacco product, a “relatively high” 3.6 million young people used e-cigarettes. However, it was 1.8m fewer young Americans using e-cigarettes compared to 2019.