'Juul' Labs to Pay $40 Million Settlement After N.C. Sues Company for Advertising to Teens

Juul has agreed to pay $40 million to North Carolina after the state sued the e-cigarette company for advertising to minors.

The settlement between North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and Juul was announced Monday. The agreement forces the company to pay the fine and change how it does business in the state, but Juul denied any wrongdoing or liability in the agreement.

"North Carolina is now the first state in the nation to hold Juul accountable for its instrumental role in creating a youth vaping epidemic," Stein said at a news conference.

A Juul spokesperson told Newsweek that the settlement is "consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers."

The spokesperson added, "We seek to continue to earn trust through action. Over the past two years, for example, we ceased the distribution of our non-tobacco, non-menthol flavored products in advance of FDA guidance and halted all mass market product advertising. This settlement is another step in that direction."

The settlement brings an end to the two-year legal battle. In its 2019 lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc., the state contended that the company was in violation of North Carolina's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by designing and marketing e-cigarette to young people and misrepresenting the danger of nicotine in its products.

The $40 million settlement will be paid out over the course of six years. The funds will go toward helping kids stop vaping and preventing addiction.

Juul will also be banned from marketing its products toward people under the age of 21, and can't use anyone under the age of 35 in its advertising. The company also has to stop most social media advertising, outdoor advertising near schools and sponsoring music and sporting events.

According to Stein, the company will no longer be able to sell flavors such as mint, mango or crème brûlée without permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"Juul sparked and spread a disease—the disease of nicotine addiction. They did it to teenagers across North Carolina and this country, simply to make money," Stein told reporters. "Their greed is not only reprehensible, it is unlawful and that is why I took action."

A spokesperson for Juul said the company looks forward to working with Stein and other manufacturers on the "development of potential industry-wide marketing practices based on science and evidence."

"In addition, we support the Attorney General's desire to deploy funds to generate appropriate science to support North Carolina's public health interventions to reduce underage use," the company said.

'Juul' Labs to Pay $40 Million Settlement
Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation's largest maker of vaping products, are offered for sale at the Smoke Depot on September 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The e-cigarette company Juul has agreed to pay $40 million to North Carolina. Scott Olson/Getty Images