HealthDay News — Juul, the leading electronic cigarette maker in the United States, has agreed to pay $40 million to settle a lawsuit by North Carolina that alleged the company intentionally got scores of teenagers addicted to nicotine.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, who sued the company two years ago, announced the settlement on Monday. The company did not admit to any liability or wrongdoing in the settlement, The New York Times reported. Stein’s complaint accused Juul of targeting young people to use its products through its designs, marketing schemes, and sales pitches. The state also alleged the company violated North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by misrepresenting the strength and danger of nicotine in the company’s products.
Under the agreement, Juul products will only be sold behind the counter in North Carolina stores, The Times reported. Online sales will require third-party age verification, and the company must also send “mystery shoppers” to 1,000 stores each year to make sure they are not selling to minors. Also, the company, which had featured young people in its advertisements, can no longer picture models younger than 35 in its ads or post any ads near schools.
A Juul spokesman, Joshua Raffel, said in a statement: “This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers.”