Settlement will bring over $175 million to California, the highest amount of any state settlement yet reached with JUUL
OAKLAND — California Attorney General Bonta today announced a $462 million multistate settlement agreement with electronic cigarette maker, JUUL, Labs, Inc. (JUUL) that was negotiated by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and six other states. The settlement resolves multiple lawsuits — including one filed by DOJ, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, and the County of Los Angeles — alleging JUUL violated state laws by targeting young people through its advertising and promotional campaigns. Of the $462 million settlement amount, California will receive a total of $175.8 million, the highest amount of any state settlement yet reached with JUUL. The money will help California fund research, education, and enforcement efforts related to e-cigarettes. JUUL will also be prohibited from targeting youth in its advertising and promotion under the terms of the deal.
“Today is another step forward in our fight to protect our kids from getting hooked on vaping and nicotine,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “By using advertising and marketing strategies to lure young people to its products, JUUL put the health and safety of its vulnerable targets and the California public at risk. Today’s settlement holds JUUL accountable for its actions and puts a stop to its harmful business practices. What’s more, it will bring millions in funding to help California abate and prevent the harms of e-cigarettes and nicotine addiction. As a father and as our state’s top law enforcement official, I remain committed to protecting the health, quality of life, and future of California’s children.”
“The company opted to illegally market its products to our children and now JUUL is going to pay a steep price for its mistakes,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “Educating our youth about the harms of these types of products is essential to improving our communities. We hope that JUUL and other companies understand that risking the health of our youth will not be tolerated and we will ensure that they follow the law.”
"This settlement holds JUUL accountable for knowingly targeting our kids to hook them on flavored nicotine vaping products simply to boost their bottom line," said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Board Chair Janice Hahn. "The county will use funds from this settlement to continue our work to address youth nicotine addiction and the ongoing impacts JUUL's products have had on public health.”
Smoking remains the number one preventable killer in the United States and causes over 480,000 deaths per year. Studies have shown that many JUUL users continue to smoke cigarettes and that children who were not likely at risk to start smoking cigarettes have done so as a result of their use of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. As vaping by young people surged in the late 2010s, with its highly addictive products and appealing flavors, JUUL became associated with the youth e-cigarette epidemic. Researchers looking into JUUL’s sales between 2017 and 2019, during the height of its popularity, found that its growth was primarily driven by users under the age of 21.
In November 2019, DOJ, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, and the County of Los Angeles sued JUUL for allegedly violating multiple California laws and regulations, including those on privacy rights of minors, unfair competition, and false advertising.
The $175.8 million received by California will be used to support, among other things:
Under the terms of the settlement, JUUL will also be required to stop targeting youth in its advertising and promotion, ensure retailers are complying with restrictions on selling to minors, establish minimum price requirements, and make its internal documents open and accessible to the public.
Today’s settlement was negotiated by California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and New York.