LOCAL NEWS

Utah to receive millions from e-cigarette Juul settlement

Sep 6, 2022, 11:18 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs will pay nearly $440 million to Utah and 33 other states and territories following a two-year investigation into the company’s marketing practices that included targeting youth.

Teenage vaping has been a concern for years. The FDA declared it an epidemic in Sept. 2018 and many states called out Juul for contributing to the problem.

“Juul was effectively targeting minors very well,” Margaret Busse said. “You know, with their different flavors and their free samples they would use and using social media.”

Three years later and after a two-year investigation, Juul has agreed to pay $438.5 million to 34 states and territories.

Busse is the executive director of Utah’s Department of Commerce. She says Utah is expected to receive at least $8.6 million from the settlement over the next six years.

“But more importantly, what this settlement does is actually prohibit Juul from going forward from using these very deceptive tactics that they’ve used previously to market to minors,” she said.

According to a press release announcing 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 FDA
  • Allowing access to websites without age verification on 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

“I’ve got five kids of my own,” Busse said. “I don’t want to see these products being peddled in our schools, being peddled to my kids, or anyone else’s kids.”

Busse said her department will work with legislators to determine how the money will be used, “but I can tell you it will certainly be used to educate our minors to prevent their usage of these dangerous products.”

Since 2019, Juul has moved away from advertising and has pulled its fruit and candy flavors from store shelves.

Today, Juul’s mission is to help transition adult smokers away from cigarettes and to “combat underage usage of our products.”

Busse said she hopes the settlement sends a message beyond Juul and “causes a lot of pause for companies out there that are specifically trying to target youth with their addictive substances.”

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Utah to receive millions from e-cigarette Juul settlement