Statement: Juul to pay nearly $440 million to settle probe into alleged kid-focused marketing 

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

Multistate action holding Juul accountable is welcome, but Juul’s only one e-cigarette company

PORTLAND, Maine —  Juul Labs Inc., a major e-cigarette company, agreed Tuesday to pay 33 states plus Puerto Rico more than $438 million to end a joint multistate investigation into its allegedly teen-friendly marketing practices. Juul also agreed to adhere to restrictions on where and how it will promote its products. 

Texas’ attorney general said the investigation found Juul was “willfully engaging in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them to purchase and unhealthy for youth to use.” In a statement posted on its website, Juul was more vague, saying the payment is “a significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past.” Juul did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement.

The settlement comes shortly after investigations by Reuters and STAT noted the Food and Drug Administration’s failure to crack down on vaping companies that sell flavored nicotine-laden products that appeal to kids. 

In response to the settlement, PIRG Public Health Campaigns Director Matt Wellington said:

“I’m glad to see Juul ponying up a large sum for its alleged role in fanning the flames of the youth e-cigarette epidemic. However, other companies are still pouring gasoline on it as we speak. Vapes that come in kid-friendly flavors are still sold all over the country. 

“The FDA is failing to live up to its responsibility to take unauthorized e-cigarette products off the market. Moreover, the agency should issue a clear directive to end the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes. Otherwise, vaping companies will continue to take advantage of its piecemeal approach so that they can sell products that attract and hook young people into becoming life-long tobacco users.”