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Juul Labs pays Arizona $14.5 million settlement for illegally targeting teens

Juul has agreed to pay $14.5 million to the state of Arizona to settle a lawsuit.

In January 2020, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against Juul and another e-cigarette maker over claims that they had targeted an underage audience, which is illegal. The company still faces ongoing lawsuits in several states. It agreed to pay $40 million to North Carolina earlier this year over similar allegations.

As part of the settlement, the company will no longer sell to those under the age of 21 in the state of Arizona. The company will institute a “strict retailer monitoring” program, which will have the company check 25 stores each month for the next two years to ensure underage customers can’t get their hands on the product. Out of the $14.5 million, $12.5 million will go towards drug prevention programs for youth and the remainder will go towards legal fees.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 20% of high schoolers and over 5% of middle schoolers used e-cigarettes, adding up to 3.6 million youth across America. By 2020, the Food and Drug Administration said the number had declined to 3.58 million, which “is still far too many.”

The company still claims no wrongdoing. It said settling the suit was “another step in our ongoing effort to reset our company.” In fact, before Brnovich sued, the company ended its sales of flavored products, barring menthol, and advertisements had already ceased.

In 2019, while testifying to the House in DC, co-founder and Chief Product Officer, James Monsees, claimed the product was never intended for teens and the company hadn’t wanted to mirror tobacco companies, like Marlboro. Monsees said “combating underage use” was the company’s highest priority.

‘We will continue working with federal and state stakeholders to advance a fully regulated, science-based marketplace for vapor products,” the company said. “As part of that process, we will continue to support Tobacco 21 and enforcement against illicit and illegally marketed products, such as certain disposables, that jeopardize the harm reduction potential of alternative vapor products,” it added.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WTTW.COM

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