New York will get $112.7M from JUUL settlement for targeting teenagers

April 12, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
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STATEWIDE — Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that her office has helped to secure the largest multistate agreement with JUUL Labs Inc. (JUUL) and its former directors and executives, holding them responsible for their alleged contribution to the youth vaping epidemic, which led to a surge in underage e-cigarette vaping nationwide.

As part of a multistate agreement co-led by Attorney General James and California Attorney General Rob Bonta, JUUL will pay $462 million to six states and the District of Columbia. New York will receive $112.7 million, which will be used to support underage vaping reduction programs across the state.

The agreement also mandates that JUUL secure its products behind retail store counters and verify the age of consumers who sell or promote its products online. This is the largest multistate settlement with JUUL and imposes the strictest limitations on JUUL’s marketing, sales, and distribution practices to protect and prevent minors from underage vaping.

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“JUUL lit a nationwide public health crisis by putting addictive products in the hands of minors and convincing them that it’s harmless — today they are paying the price for the harm they caused,” said Attorney General James. “Too many young New Yorkers are struggling to quit vaping and there is no doubt that JUUL played a central role in the nationwide vaping epidemic.”

The agreement will help young New Yorkers quit vaping and ensure future generations understand the harms of vaping, James explained.

Attorney General James sued JUUL in November 2019 for its deceptive and misleading marketing that glamorized vaping with colorful ads featuring young models and youth-appealing flavors. JUUL misled consumers about its products’ nicotine content, misrepresented the safety and therapeutic value of its products, and failed to prevent minors from purchasing its products in stores across the country.

In addition to marketing to young New Yorkers, JUUL directly reached out to high school students, falsely telling high school freshmen that its products were safer than cigarettes. JUUL’s pervasive launch and ad campaign reached teenagers across the country, who then introduced JUUL’s products to their peers rapidly.

After JUUL’s launch in 2015, e-cigarette use in New York City high school students increased three-fold from 8.1 percent in 2014 to 23.5 percent by 2018, according to data provided by the AG’s Office. By 2019, the proliferation of vaping led to a national outbreak of severe vaping-related illnesses, with more than 2,500 hospitalizations.In October 2019, a 17-year-old male from the Bronx died due to a vaping-related illness, making him the first reported vaping-related fatality in New York, and the youngest vaping-related fatality in the United States.

The New York State Department of Health reports that more than 1-in-5 high school students reported vaping in 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than 1-in-7 high school students use e-cigarettes as of 2022.

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