RALEIGH — Attorney General Josh Stein announced Monday an agreement on a consent order with e-cigarette maker JUUL that will require JUUL to pay $40 million and make drastic changes to the way it conducts business. North Carolina is the first state in the nation to successfully hold JUUL accountable for its role in spiking teen use and dependence on e-cigarettes.
“For years, JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette,” Stein said. “It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children – one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina.
“This win will go a long way in keeping JUUL products out of kids’ hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains. I’m incredibly proud of my team for their hard work on behalf of North Carolina families. We’re not done – we still have to turn the tide on a teen vaping epidemic that was borne of JUUL’s greed. As your attorney general, I’ll keep fighting to prevent another generation of young people from becoming addicted to nicotine.”
Stein began investigating JUUL in 2018 and sued the company in 2019 for designing, marketing, and selling its e-cigarettes to attract young people and for misrepresenting the potency and danger of nicotine in its products.
JUUL is making the following commitments about its business practices enforceable in North Carolina court in order to avoid appealing to young people:
• No marketing that appeals to people under the age of 21.
• No using most social media advertising, influencer advertising, outdoor advertising near schools, and sponsoring sporting events and concerts.
• No claims that compare the health effects of using JUUL with the health effects of using combustible cigarettes in its marketing materials.
• No online sales to anyone not age verified by an independent verification system and making sure third-party sales partners do the same.
• No retail sales to anyone not age verified using a barcode scanner.
• Ensure its products are sold behind counters so shoppers cannot access them without a shop employee’s assistance.
• Maintain a retailer compliance secret shopper program in North Carolina to ensure these measures are followed and hold accountable retailers that fail.
• No new flavors or nicotine content levels without FDA authorization.
Further, JUUL will pay $40 million to the state over the next six years. That money will fund programs to help people quit e-cigarettes, prevent e-cigarette addiction, and research e-cigarettes.