Juul Settles North Carolina Teen Smoking Lawsuit for $40 Million
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
In one of a series of recent state lawsuits against popular vape-manufacturer Juul, the company agreed to settle with the state of North Carolina for $40 million over allegations that they marketed their products to minors. Not only did the settlement include $40 million to be paid to the state, but it also included a restriction on the sale of products known to be popular among minors, as well as compliance with yearly report requirements demonstrating that these sales restrictions have been upheld.
In the original 2019 lawsuit, Juul was credited with fueling the vape addiction epidemic among teenagers.
One of the primary dangers to youth associated with some of Juul’s products can be credited to the variety of flavors the company made available. Whereas smoking flavors used to be limited to more plain flavors like menthol and mint, in recent years, fruit and even candy flavored vape products have become increasingly popular. With flavors that are known to be popular with and familiar to teenagers, the lawsuit argued that Juul knew or should have known that their products were bound to attract the attention of underage vapers. Additionally, even putting questionable marketing tactics aside, the chemicals responsible for these flavors have been linked to serious lung and throat damage, and even some life-threatening injuries.
Schools have taken deliberate steps to try and address the teen vaping epidemic.
In addition to personal injury lawsuits in the works, state governments became involved in the issue when it became clear that students’ schoolwork was suffering around the country as a result of underage vaping addiction. When student performance began to decline in direct correlation to underage vaping, schools around the country attempted to mitigate the damage by taking preventative measures, like hiring extra staff to monitor e-cigarette use in bathrooms, hallways, and other areas, as well as installing expensive and sensitive vape detectors to discourage and identify vaping on school property. These and other safety measures have become commonplace in many states as educators and parents seek to protect their children from the harmful effects associated with addiction, both physical and academic.
The settlement did not include an admission of liability.
It should be noted that the $40 million settlement with North Carolina did not include an admission of liability from Juul for the underage vaping pandemic, but will fund e-cigarette cessation, prevention, and research programs for the state. The implementation and funding of these programs in addition to the new requirements barring Juul from selling certain youth-oriented products and requiring the company to submit scheduled sales records is intended to halt the teen smoking epidemic and help affected individuals and localities in their physical and financial recovery.
As teen vaping litigation continues in other states both due to personal injury as well as community expenses related to the youth addiction epidemic, it remains to be seen whether or not Juul will be found liable in a verdict, or whether they will continue to settle these claims. In a statement regarding the North Carolina settlement, Juul stated: “This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company… as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers.”