Vaping company Juul Labs will pay West Virginia $7.9 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company marketed products to underage users, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Monday.
The lawsuit accuses Juul of engaging in unfair or deceptive practices in the design, manufacturing, marketing and sale of e-cigarettes in violation of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
A 2020 report released by West Virginia health officials found that more than 60% of high school students in the state reported trying e-cigarettes in 2019, up from 44% in 2017.
“This settlement puts companies like Juul in check to not copy big tobacco’s playbook and gear marketing strategies toward underage people,” Morrisey said in a statement. “In Juul’s case, we have alleged it has deceived consumers about its nicotine strength, misrepresented the nicotine equivalency of its products to traditional cigarettes and understated the risks of addiction that occur with such powerful levels of nicotine.”
It’s the latest settlement involving the embattled e-cigarette giant, which last year laid off hundreds of workers and settled thousands of lawsuits consolidated in a California federal court brought by families of Juul users, school districts, city governments and Native American tribes.
In September, the San Francisco companyto settle a two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products. The $438.5 million is being paid out over a period of six to 10 years. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said at the time that Connecticut’s payment of at least $16 million will go toward vaping prevention and education efforts.
Juul previously settled lawsuits in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and Washington.
The company dropped all U.S. advertising and discontinued most of its flavors in 2019 amid lawsuits and government sanctions.
Last June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Juul toin the United States to protect public health. Following a legal challenge from Juul, the FDA later placed a and is conducting an additional review of the company’s products.
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