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Juul Settles Lawsuit with West Virginia for $7.9 Million

Juul Settles Lawsuit with West Virginia for $7.9 Million 

Juul Labs Inc. has reached a settlement agreement with West Virginia regarding allegations that the company violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act. As part of the agreement, Juul will pay $7.9 million in settlement fees to the state. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has accused the company of engaging in unfair or deceptive practices in the manufacturing, design, sale, marketing, promotion, and distribution of e-cigarettes in the state, with a particular focus on targeting underage individuals.

Morrisey stated that the settlement stops companies like Juul from replicating the marketing tactics of big tobacco by targeting minors. The state accuses Juul of deceiving consumers about the nicotine content of its products, distorting the nicotine equivalence of their products to traditional cigarettes, and underestimating the risk of addiction due to high nicotine levels.

Juul Labs’ Corporate Communications Vice President, Autin Finan, issued a statement regarding the settlement. According to Finan, the agreement represents another step in Juul Labs’ commitment to addressing past issues. He further explained that the terms of the settlement agreement are similar to previous settlements, providing financial resources to combat underage use and develop smoking cessation programs. Finan hopes that the funds will be directed towards reducing cigarette use and improving public health within the state, given that West Virginia has the highest cigarette smoking rate in the United States.

Juul has reached settlements with 40 states and territories, providing billions of dollars to participating states, and has paid over $2.6 billion in total settlement fees to various states. This is based on the company’s global resolution of private lawsuits in the United States, covering over 5,000 cases brought by about 10,000 plaintiffs.

Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Juul e-cigarettes have high nicotine content, with one Juul pod containing the equivalent of 20 traditional cigarettes. However, the prosecution argues that the total nicotine content in a Juul pod is “equivalent to 1.72 packs (34 cigarettes).”

In 2017, 14.3% of high school students in West Virginia had used e-cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days, which is slightly higher than the national average of 13.2%. Data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that over 5 million US middle and high school students are using e-cigarettes, with 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students reporting current e-cigarette use. Among current e-cigarette users, 34.2% of high school students and 18% of middle school students use e-cigarettes for 20 days or more per month.

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