The e-cigarette maker Juul has now agreed to pay $40 million to settle a lawsuit with North Caroline after being accused of intentionally marketing its products to teenagers.
The US state accused the manufacturer of deliberately using sweet flavors and small devices to sell to younger consumers whilst delivering the highly addictive substance of nicotine.
In addition to this, the company was criticized for selling its products online and targeting teens and young people in their advertising campaigns.
According to the Youth Tobacco Survey, between 2018 and 2019, the use of e-cigarettes in high school students in North Carolina increased by 78%.
Although Juul denied any wrongdoing, it still offered a settlement of $40 million, which will be paid over the next six years. It also promised to change its advertising policies in the region, including putting restrictions on its Instagram and Facebook ad campaigns.
A spokesperson for Juul noted, “This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company. We continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers.”
The company added that it had already paused its “mass-market” advertising efforts in the last two years and has stopped selling products with flavors other than menthol and tobacco.
The “youth vaping epidemic”
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said, “North Carolina is now the first state in the nation to hold Juul accountable for its instrumental role in creating a youth vaping epidemic across North Carolina and this country simply to make money.”
Under this new agreement, Juul will only be allowed to advertise its products if the ads are targeting people over the age of 35, and they will not be allowed to use actors younger than this.
There will also be some restrictions on sales. For example, consumers in North Carolina will face a cap on how many Juul devices and pods they can purchase.
The money from the settlement will be used to fund programs aimed at preventing teenagers and young people from vaping. Juul will continue to work on improving the marketing practices currently used in the industry.