West Virginia settles $7.9 million lawsuit with Juul

Juul Labs will pay West Virginia $7.9 million to settle a lawsuit over the e-cigarette company’s marketing tactics targeting teens, the state’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced on Monday.

CBS News said the smoking company violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act and was using social media and popular influencers to unfairly target teens in its marketing.

Morrisey said that Juul “deceived consumers about its nicotine strength, misrepresented the nicotine equivalency of its products to traditional cigarettes and understated the risks of addiction that occur with such powerful levels of nicotine,” per CNN.

CBS News said a report from 2020 found more than 60% of high school students in West Virginia had tried e-cigarettes in 2019, which was 44% higher than in 2017.

Morrisey said in a statement, “This settlement puts companies like Juul in check to not copy big tobacco’s playbook and gear marketing strategies toward underage people,” per CBS News.

Juul Labs

The Associated Press quoted the company: “With West Virginia having the highest cigarette-smoking rate in the U.S., we hope that some funds will go directly to interventions to reduce the use of combustible cigarettes and improve public health in the state.”

CNN said terms of the agreement require Juul Labs to finance resources against underage drug use and create smoking-cessation programs.

“In a statement, a Juul company spokesperson said the settlement is ‘another step in its ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the company’s past,’” the news outlet reported.

According to Morrisey, 14.3% of West Virginia high schoolers used e-cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days, which is higher than the national average of 13.2%, per CNN.

Previous lawsuits

According to NPR, Juul settled similar lawsuits with 37 states and territories throughout 2022, totaling more than 5,000 cases with 10,000 plaintiffs about the company’s vaping products.

The Deseret News reported last year that Utah will be receiving about $8.6 million over six years, the outcome of a tentative $438.5 million settlement involving several states that sued the company with the same arguments.

Concerning that settlement, Utah Department of Commerce Executive Director Margaret Busse said in a statement that it “represented a big win against those who purposely market dangerous products to youth.”

CBS News said last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a temporary hold on the decision to stop Juul from marketing and distributing products after a legal challenge from the smoking company.

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