Kansas has finalized a settlement with JUUL Labs, resulting in nearly $10 million for Kansas and resolving a two-year investigation into the e-cigarette manufacturer’s marketing and sales practices.
According to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the settlement forces JUUL to comply with strict injunctive terms limiting their marketing and sales practices. Kansas is expected to receive more than $9.9 million as part of the $438.5 million settlement between JUUL and 32 states and Puerto Rico. The money will be paid over six to 10 years. The agreement was first announced in principle in September.
The multistate investigation revealed that JUUL became a dominant player in the vaping marking by willfully engaging in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them to purchase and are unhealthy for youth to use. The investigation found that JUUL relentlessly marketed to underage users with launch parties, advertisements using young and trendy-looking models, social media posts and free samples. It marketed a technology-focused, sleek design that could be easily concealed and sold its product in flavors known to be attractive to underage users. JUUL also manipulated the chemical composition of its product to make the vapor less harsh on the throats of the young and inexperienced users. To preserve its young customer base, JUUL relied on age verification techniques that it knew were ineffective.
The investigation further revealed that JUUL’s original packaging was misleading in that it did not clearly disclose that it contained nicotine and implied that it contained a lower concentration of nicotine than it actually did. Consumers were also misled to believe that consuming one JUUL pod was the equivalent of smoking one pack of combustible cigarettes. The company also misrepresented that its product was a smoking cessation device without FDA approval to make such claims.
As part of the settlement, JUUL has agreed to refrain from specific marketing practices that target youth, as well as establishing stricter age verification controls on websites, direct-to-consumer advertising, and free samples. The agreement also includes sales and distribution restrictions, including where the product may be displayed/accessed in stores, online sales limits, retail sales limits, age verification on all sales, and a retail compliance check protocol.
A copy of the consent judgment approved by Shawnee County District Judge Thomas G. Luedke is available at https://bit.ly/3iHlLqo