The Strategist

E-cigarette maker Juul to pay $40M in the US over ads appealing to teenagers

06/29/2021 - 04:09

E-cigarette maker Juul has agreed to pay $40m to the state of North Carolina as part of a settlement.

Vaping360 via flickr
Vaping360 via flickr
US e-cigarette maker Juul Labs has agreed to pay $40m to the state of North Carolina to settle a lawsuit, Reuters reports. In its lawsuit, the state accused the company of targeting minors by promoting its products.

The settlement was announced by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. It also implies restrictions on the sale of products appealing to teens, and requires Juul to submit reports each year confirming compliance with this requirement.

In its 2019 lawsuit, North Carolina said Juul downplayed the potential harm its products could cause to health by fuelling an "epidemic" of vaping among minors, Reuters noted. Under pressure from regulators, the company has already removed popular flavours, such as mango and cucumber, from its retail shop lineup and deleted its Instagram and Facebook accounts, the agency wrote.

Juul was founded in 2017, and the following December its founders Adam Bowen and James Monsees became billionaires after a 35% stake in Juul was bought by tobacco giant Altria, which also makes Marlboro-branded cigarettes, for almost $13bn. However, they dropped out of the billionaire list the following year after one of the company's investors, hedge fund Darsana Capital Partners, wrote off more than a third of its investment in the manufacturer, reducing its valuation from $38 billion to $24 billion. Altria also wrote off $4.1 billion of its investment in Juul Labs at the same time.

The investment write-down was mainly due to an increase in the number of court cases threatening Juul. According to Reuters, more than 2,000 lawsuits have been filed against Juul Labs.