Juul Labs, one of the most well-known e-cigarette companies, will pay $40 million to the state of North Carolina to settle charges that it marketed its products to teens and misled the public about their safety. Officials say the money will be paid over six years and will go towards young people who have been negatively impacted by e-cigarettes.
The lawsuit was originally filed back in 2019 by state attorney general Josh Stein. Under the settlement, Juul will no longer be able to sell flavored e-cigarettes in North Carolina and it will need to change its marketing practices.
“Juul must abandon all marketing strategies and content that appeals to young people. Juul will be prohibited from influencer advertising, outdoor advertising near schools, sponsoring sporting events and concerts, and most importantly, most social media advertising. Juul cannot use anyone under the age of 35 years in their advertising. Juul cannot make any claims that its e-cigarettes are safer or better for your health than combustible cigarettes,” Stein said.
In addition to those mandates, Juul will also be required to implement a barcode age-verification system at establishments that sell its products. Consumers who shop online will only be able to buy two of Juul’s e-cigarette devices and 60 of its pods per month, with a cap of 10 devices per year.
Juul has faced a lot of legal headwinds from various states over the past few years. The company saw actions taken against it in California, Massachusetts, New York, and other states over similar claims of marketing to teens and youths. In September 2019, the legal pressure became so immense that the company’s CEO stepped down and it decided to suspend advertising efforts in the U.S.