RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Attorney General Jason Miyares announced that Virginia will be one of 34 U.S. states and territories to sign a $438.5 million settlement with e-cigarette company, JUUL.
This comes after a two-year investigation into the company with a focus on its marketing practices. In 2015, the first JUUL product was launched. Since then, teenage vaping numbers have increased drastically and JUUL has been evaluated for targeting its product at a younger age group.
That investigation found that the company hosted launch parties, had product giveaways and used social media for promotion. Despite the fact that, since 2019, e-cigarettes like other tobacco products have been illegal for people under the age of 21.
“Youth vaping is an epidemic, and from the get-go, JUUL has been a leader in the e-cigarette industry,” Miyares said. “But JUUL targeted young people with deceptive social media advertising campaigns and misled the public about the product’s dangers.”
With the efforts to hold JUUL accountable, they will now have to follow a list of marketing rules to keep their product on the shelves. Some of the banned practices are:
- Youth Marketing
- Funding education programs
- Depicting persons under age 35 in any marketing
- Use of cartoons
- Sale of flavors not approved by the FDA
- Allowing access to websites without age verification on the landing page
- Sponsorships/naming rights
- Advertising in outlets unless 85 percent audience is adult
- Social media advertising (other than testimonials by individuals over the age of 35, with no health claims)
- Use of paid influencers
- Direct-to-consumer ads unless age-verified
- Free samples
“My office will continue to go after and hold accountable companies that market addictive products like e-cigarettes to minors, with no concern for their health or well-being,” Miyares said.
The total amount from the settlement is projected to be about 25% of the company’s U.S. sales. Virginia is expected to receive a $16 million cash payment. The funds are expected to be dispersed in the next six to 10 years.