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Is this just the beginning of lawsuit settlements offered by e-cigarette companies?

Our blog article of November 2019 concerned the rise of expected lawsuits against vaping companies, mostly against the most popular e-cigarette producer, Juul. Fast forward almost two years later and see the headline, “E-cigarette company Juul to pay $40 million in North Carolina lawsuit settlement.”

The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed in 2019 by Joseph Stein, North Carolina’s Attorney General. In the lawsuit Stein attacked the marketing of Juul’s products to children, and claimed they misled the public about the risks associated with their e-cigarettes. In the recent order, the settlement also restricts how Juul can market their products in the state, while providing funds to assist those addicted to e-cigarettes.

What Juul can no longer do, according to the consent order

In a news briefing following the settlement announcement, Stein said that Juul cannot sell any of the popular flavored e-cigarettes, like mint, mango or crème brulee, without authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Stein specified that, “Juul must abandon all marketing strategies and content that appeals to young people. Juul will be prohibited from influencer advertising, outdoor advertising near schools, sponsoring sporting events and concerts, and most importantly, most social media advertising.” He went on to say that “JUUL cannot use anyone under the age of 35 years in their advertising. Juul cannot make any claims that its e-cigarettes are safer or better for your health than combustible cigarettes.”

In addition, Juul must institute a barcode age-verification system of where its products are sold; furthermore, this system has to be tested through a retailer compliance program using mystery shoppers at 1,000 stores per year. Regarding their online sales, Juul is required to restrict sales to individuals to no more than two devices per month, 10 devices per year, and no more than 60 pods per month, ostensibly to curb its addictive properties.

How the settlement monies are to be distributed

The $40 million in settlement monies are to be used for those young users addicted to e-cigarettes over a six year period of time. The funds will pay for those programs proven to be effective to help e-cigarette users quit, as well as to prevent minors from ever starting.

The settlement also includes a “document depository” to be created at a state university. Its purpose will be to inform the public on the information gathered on Juul and their practices throughout the course of the lawsuit.

As for Juul, they commented that the consent order was in keeping with its own efforts to stem and prevent the use of their products by underage youth. 

Stein continued his attack on Juul stating that although this settlement is a win for the children of the North Carolina, and will help keep “Juul products out of kids’ hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains…We still have to turn the tide on a teen vaping epidemic that was borne of Juul’s greed.”

What is vaping?

According to the Center on Addiction, “Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of fine particles. Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.”

A mouthpiece, a battery, a cartridge holding the e-liquid, and a heating component make up the different parts of a vaping device. The battery heats up the e-liquid, turning it into an aerosol that is then inhaled and exhaled.

If you have any questions about this article, give us a call at Group Matrix. Remember, as an experienced and professional marketing agency, we can help you with all or any part of your marketing plans and marketing strategy, including any e-cigarette class-action in which your personal injury law firm may be involved.

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