JUUL Labs has agreed to pay $438.5 million to settle a two-year investigation into sales and marketing practices targeting kids and teens.
According to a statement last week from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, “JUUL relentlessly marketed to underage users, [sold] a technology-focused, sleek design that could be easily concealed, and sold its product in flavors known to be attractive to underage users. JUUL also manipulated the chemical composition of its product to make the vapor less harsh on the throats of young and inexperienced users. To preserve its young customer base, JUUL relied on age verification techniques that it knew were ineffective.”
Advocates have long raised alarm that JUUL has directly fueled the youth vaping epidemic through product design and marketing tactics. In June, the FDA issued orders that would ban JUUL products from stores but paused those orders after the company responded with a lawsuit. Advocates are now calling on the FDA to remove JUUL products from the market.
In Wisconsin, 11% of middle schoolers and 32% of high schoolers have tried vaping. The Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program helps teens quit by offering resources and programs for schools, parents, and youth.