North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced Monday that his office settled a lawsuit in state court with vaping manufacturer Juul. His office was the first in the nation to sue the company in 2019, claiming that it violated the state’s Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Today because of Juul, thousands of kids in North Carolina are addicted to nicotine, putting their long-term health at risk,” Stein said at a press conference Monday. “Juul sparked and spread a disease, the disease of nicotine addiction. They did it to teenagers across North Carolina and this country simply to make money. Their greed is not only reprehensible. It’s unlawful, and that’s why I took action.”
Under the settlement, Juul cannot participate in outdoor advertising near schools and on public transit; or sponsoring advertisements at sporting events and concerts; as well as influencer advertising, which taps influencers for a company’s marketing campaign, often on social media. Juul will be responsible for monitoring third-party social media content by underage teenagers promoting its products.
Previously, Juul agreed to stop selling non-tobacco, non-menthol e-cigarettes of flavors not precleared by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a statement from the company. Stein said mint, mango, and crème brulee-flavored e-cigarette products typically attract teenagers.
“Importantly, we look forward to working with Attorney General Stein and other manufacturers on the development of potential industrywide marketing practices based on science and evidence,” a Juul statement said it supports the AG’s plan for funding public health research.
Stein said his office required Juul and retailers to only sell their vaping devices to adults and use a more stringent age verification system including scanning the barcode on IDs.
The $40 million payment will come in six installments in six years, to be used for programs that help teenagers quit e-cigarettes and prevent them from ever starting using these products.
The state will release related documents from the lawsuit in July 2022.
Watch the full announcement here.