Juul has faced legal action in several states for marketing its products, which it touts as a safer alternative to regular tobacco products. In June, he struck a similar deal with the North Carolina attorney general that included a payment of $ 40 million and promises not to market minors and strengthen enforcement of retailers that sell his products. Lawsuits with a handful of other states remain.
Electronic cigarettes are touted as safer than tobacco cigarettes because although they release nicotine, an addictive drug, they do not emit smoke containing carcinogens. But they are still addicting and dangerous to health, especially for teenagers whose brains are still developing.
The United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first electronic cigarette last month, saying RJ Reynolds’ product has a clear benefit because it can reduce the consumption of regular cigarettes. Juul’s product remains under review by the FDA. Some adulterated vaping products have caused serious health effects.
All but $ 2 million of the $ 14.5 million Arizona settlement will be used for programs that discourage the use of vaping products, including cessation and education programs designed to prevent the use and nicotine addiction in young people. Juul also agreed in the consent decree to implement a strict retailer monitoring program whereby it will conduct compliance checks of at least 25 stores per month across Arizona for two years and take action. against those who sell illegally to underage smokers.
The deal requires Juul not to advertise near schools or target anyone under the age of 21, and not to use social media to market. It is not advertising at all.
The remaining $ 2 million will go to a state account that the attorney general uses to fund consumer fraud investigations.
“Today’s settlement holds Juul accountable for his irresponsible marketing efforts that have driven Arizona miners into nicotine and the ensuing addiction,” Brnovich said in a statement. “Tackling the youth vaping epidemic remains a priority for our office with both our Counter Strike infiltration program and zero tolerance for vaping companies that mislead or deceive.”
Juul said in his Arizona settlement statement that he “will continue to work with federal and state stakeholders to advance a fully regulated and science-based market for vapor products.”
He said he would continue to support the efforts of the anti-tobacco group “Tobacco 21” for higher smoking age limits and to support enforcement measures against illegal vaping products that “undermine the potential of smoking. harm reduction of alternative vaping products “.
The company, which is partly owned by tobacco giant Altria Group, said it was in talks to settle lawsuits from other states.
Youth vaping has exploded in recent years, sparking concerns from health experts and state and federal regulators. But an FDA report released in September showed a sharp drop in the number of young people vaping as schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was the second consecutive annual drop in teen vaping and followed the enactment in 2019 of a new federal law that raised the purchase age of all tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. years. Soon after, the FDA banned almost all flavors from small cartridges. Electronic cigarette-based products blamed for the sharp increase in teenage use.