LINCOLN, Nebraska – On Tuesday, it was revealed that JUUL Labs had reached a settlement with 33 states and territories, including Nebraska, that would pay a total of $438.5 million.
The state of Nebraska is expected to receive a total of between $8.1 million and $8.8 million in annual installments beginning in 2022 and continuing through 2027, 2029, or 2031, according to Attorney General Doug Peterson.
This settlement brings to a close a nonpartisan probe that lasted two years and looked into the marketing and sales activities of the e-cigarette company. JUUL will be required to comply with a number of stringent restrictions as part of the settlement, which will severely restrict their marketing and sales tactics. These terms will be in addition to the financial obligations.
According to Mr. Peterson, “This settlement helps in the first steps to tackling the vaping problem that is facing teenagers.” “As part of the settlement, JUUL is compelled to contribute money to programs that work to reduce the effects of addiction. It also sends a clear message to businesses of all kinds, telling them emphatically, “Don’t mess with our children.”
Up until very recently, JUUL was the industry standard bearer in terms of market share.
According to the findings of the investigation that took place across multiple states, JUUL achieved its current position by knowingly participating in an advertising campaign that targeted young people, despite the fact that its electronic cigarettes are against the law for them to purchase and that using them is detrimental to their health.
According to the findings of the investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of Nebraska, JUUL engaged in aggressive marketing to users under the age of 18, including hosting launch parties, running advertisements featuring models who appeared to be young and trendy, posting on social media, and providing free samples. It sold its product in flavors that are known to be appealing to juvenile users, and it positioned itself as having a design that was centered on technology and was sleek enough to be readily hidden.
According to a press statement issued by the office of the Attorney General of Nebraska, JUUL changed the chemical makeup of its product in order to make the vapor less unpleasant on the throats of younger users and users with less experience. JUUL relies on age verification methods that it was well aware were inefficient so that it could maintain its large consumer base of young people.
The examination also found that the initial packaging for JUUL was deceptive since it did not make it abundantly obvious that the product included nicotine, and it also gave the impression that the product contained a lower concentration of nicotine than it actually did. Consumers were also persuaded to believe that consuming one JUUL pod was similar to smoking one pack of conventional cigarettes, which was another form of deception perpetrated upon them. The company also made false claims that their product was a smoking cessation device, despite the fact that they did not have approval from the FDA to do so.
As part of the settlement, JUUL has agreed to refrain from:
• Youth marketing
• Funding education programs
• Depicting persons under age 35 in any marketing
• Use of cartoons
• Paid product placement
• Sale of brand name merchandise
• Sale of flavors not approved by the FDA
• Allowing access to websites without age verification on the landing page
• Representations about nicotine not approved by FDA
• Misleading representations about nicotine content
• Sponsorships/naming rights
• Advertising in outlets unless 85 percent audience is adult
• Advertising on billboards
• Public transportation advertising
• Social media advertising (other than testimonials by individuals over the age of 35, with no health claims)
• Use of paid influencers
• Direct-to-consumer ads unless age-verified, and
• Free samples.
The agreement also includes sales and distribution restrictions, including where the product may be displayed or accessed in stores, online sales limits, retail sales limits, age verification on all sales and a retail compliance check protocol.
Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have signed on to the settlement.