Juul Labs, a popular vaping company, has agreed to pay $7.9 million to settle a lawsuit filed by West Virginia alleging the company marketed its products to minors. The state’s Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey, announced the settlement on Monday.
The lawsuit accuses Juul of violating the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act by engaging in unfair and deceptive practices in the design, manufacturing, marketing, and sale of e-cigarettes. In a 2020 report, West Virginia health officials found that over 60% of high school students in the state had tried e-cigarettes, up from 44% in 2017.
As part of the settlement, Juul will be prohibited from targeting minors in its marketing and will provide financial resources to combat underage use and develop cessation programs. Juul has faced numerous legal challenges in recent years, including thousands of lawsuits brought by families of Juul users, school districts, city governments, and Native American tribes. Last year, the company settled for nearly $440 million to resolve a two-year investigation by 33 states into its marketing practices.
In response to the settlement, Juul said that it reflects the company’s commitment to resolving issues from its past and implementing current business practices to prevent underage use. The company also expressed its hope that some of the funds will be used to reduce the use of combustible cigarettes and improve public health in West Virginia, which has the highest smoking rate in the nation.