That windfall is the result of a two-year-long lawsuit against the company, started by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2020. Texas is among 34 states and territories that will receive $438.5 million total in payments spread out between six to 10 years — expected to have interest attached depending on how long it takes the company to pay the dues.
If the company takes the whole 10 years, the total would increase another $38 million.
“The multistate investigation revealed that JUUL became a dominant player in the vaping industry by willfully engaging in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth,” the OAG stated in a press release, “even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them to purchase and unhealthy for youth to use.”
According to the OAG, the broad investigation revealed that JUUL was guilty of these practices “with launch parties, advertisements using young models, social media posts, and free samples.”
The release also identified the e-cigarette’s “sleek design” and flavored vapors as aspects specifically pursuing the business of youths. Another mark against the company, per the state agency, was JUUL’s product changes that made the vapor less damaging to the throats of those who used their vapes.
JUUL was accused of misleading customers by not “clearly disclos[ing]” nicotine levels on its product packaging, and of leading customers to believe that one JUUL pod was equivalent to smoking one pack of traditional cigarettes.
Paxton said in a statement, “When I launched this investigation over two years ago, my goal was to make sure JUUL was held liable for any wrongdoing done in the past and ensure that they change direction to fully comply with the law going forward.”
“This settlement helps accomplish both of those priorities.”
A JUUL spokesman told The Texan, “This settlement with 34 states and territories is a significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past. The terms of the agreement are aligned with our current business practices which we started to implement after our company-wide reset in the Fall of 2019. With today’s announcement, we have settled with 37 states and Puerto Rico, and appreciate efforts by Attorneys General to deploy resources to combat underage use.”
“We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes — the number one cause of preventable death — while combating underage use. We recently submitted an administrative appeal, based on science and evidence, to FDA, demonstrating that its marketing denial order (MDO) of our products was substantively and procedurally flawed and should be rescinded,” the statement continued.
“We believe that once the FDA does a complete review of all of the science and evidence presented, as required by law, and without political interference, we should receive marketing authorization.”
JUUL is currently enveloped in a fight with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over market approval of its products. Back in June, the agency denied authorization for the e-cigarettes’ public sale but paused that ruling in July pending further review.
In 2019, the Texas Legislature passed legislation that raised the smoking age to 21, including for vapes and other e-cigarettes.
As part of this settlement, JUUL faces restrictions on marketing its product to individuals under 35 years of age and limits on how prominently their products may be displayed in stores.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.