Phoenix, Arizona - Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a settlement with e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, Inc. (JUUL) that will require the company to pay $14.5 million and make significant changes to its corporate practices - ensuring JUUL products are not marketed or sold to youth in Arizona.
“Today’s settlement holds JUUL accountable for its irresponsible marketing efforts that pushed Arizona minors toward nicotine and the addiction that follows,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Combatting the youth vaping epidemic remains a priority for our office with both our undercover Counter Strike program and zero tolerance for vaping companies that mislead or deceive.”
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) filed a lawsuit against JUUL in January 2020 for engaging in deceptive and unfair acts and practices. The AGO alleged JUUL marketed its highly-addictive nicotine products to appeal to and target young people while misleading them on the risks associated with those products. The AGO also alleged the company failed to implement appropriate protective measures to ensure its products were not sold to underage consumers. Finally, the AGO alleged that JUUL misled all consumers regarding its products’ true nicotine concentration.
As part of the Consent Judgment, pending court approval, JUUL has committed to company-wide changes to its business practices to ensure that its products will not be marketed or sold to Arizona’s youth, including:
- No marketing that appeals to or targets individuals under the age of 21, including the use of cartoons in advertising, and no advertising near schools.
- No publishing, marketing, or advertising material for JUUL Products on any social media platform, no engaging or paying social media influencers, and no use of persons under age 30 in its advertising.
- No JUUL-sponsored events where persons under 21 will be present.
- No selling to Arizonans under 21 years of age. JUUL will not make online sales to anyone who has not been age verified by an independent age-verification system and shall implement processes to contact households from which products have been purchased prior to shipment of any JUUL products.
- No displaying JUUL products at retail locations other than behind the counter or in a secured display case to prohibit shoppers from accessing them without retailer employee assistance.
- No selling flavored products without FDA approval.
- Ensuring retail stores in Arizona that carry and sell JUUL products adopt age-verification compliance systems, including a strict penalty system for retailers that fail age-verification compliance checks.
- Permitting Arizona residents to report, through a “track-and-trace” program on its website, the serial number of any JUUL device confiscated from an Arizona resident who is under 21 years of age. JUUL shall report to the AGO information relating to any reports that identify Arizona retail stores that may have sold a device to an underage person.
- Providing additional and transparent disclosure of JUUL’s nicotine content.
JUUL also will pay $14.5 million to the State. $12.5 million will be used for programs to stop youth vaping, such as:
- Cessation programs to help Arizona’s youth end their addiction to e-cigarettes;
- Education programs to prevent future youth e-cigarette use and addiction; and
- Programs to abate the impact the youth vaping epidemic has had in Arizona and to prevent such impact in the future.
- The remaining $2 million will be paid to the State for litigation reimbursement and deposited into the Consumer Protection–Consumer Fraud Revolving Fund.
Civil Litigation Division Chief Counsel Joseph Sciarrotta, Jr., Senior Litigation Counsel Laura Dilweg, Assistant Attorney Generals Erika Mansur and Jane Fallon, Consumer Protection and Advocacy Section Chief Leslie Cooper, and Consumer Litigation Unit Chief Matthew du Mee handled this consequential case.
AGO Actions to Stop Youth Vaping
Today’s announcement is the latest action Attorney General Brnovich has taken to combat the youth vaping epidemic and hold bad actors accountable.
- The AGO’s Counter Strike Program conducts thousands of undercover youth tobacco inspections across the state every year.
- During Attorney General Brnovich’s Administration, there has been a dramatic decline in youth tobacco sales from nearly one in five retailers selling tobacco to youth in 2015 to fewer than one in ten in 2019-20.
- AG Brnovich Obtains a $22.5 million Judgment and Permanent Injunction Against EonSmoke.
- AG Brnovich Sends Cease and Desist Notices to Retailers Carrying Illegal Vaping Products.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.