Juul will pay $40 million to settle a vaping lawsuit in North Carolina

Juul, a vape pen manufacturer, has agreed to pay $40m to settle a North Carolina lawsuit alleging that it sold and marketed its products to youth. The money will be used by the state to finance programs to prevent ecigarette addition and help people quit using e-cigarettes. Research into e-cigarettes will also be funded by the cash.Juul denied any wrongdoing or liability as part of the consent order. It did however agree to make changes to its state-related business practices. The company cannot place ads near schools, sponsor sporting events or sponsor concerts on social media. Online retailers selling Juul products will have to use an independent verification system that verifies customers are legal.Juul will have to set up a secret shopper program in order to ensure that vape shops don't sell its products to anyone younger than 21 years old. Juul products will be required to remain behind the counter by retailers. The company cannot also introduce new flavors or alter nicotine levels without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.Juul, a highly addictive e-cigarette, targeted teens for years. In a statement, Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General said that Juul's e-cigarette lit the fire and caused a vaping epidemic among children. This victory will help keep Juul products out the hands of children, their chemical vapor out their lungs and their nicotine from poisoning or addicting their brains.Engadget was sent the following statement by a spokesperson for Juul:As we continue to fight underage smoking and reduce harm to adult smokers, this settlement is in line with our ongoing efforts to reset our company's relationship with its stakeholders. We look forward to working closely with Attorney General Stein, other manufacturers, and developing industry-wide marketing strategies based on science. We also support the Attorney General's desire to use funds to produce appropriate science to aid North Carolinas public healthcare interventions to reduce underage drinking.Through action, we seek to maintain trust. We have stopped the distribution of non-tobacco and non-menthol-flavored products prior to FDA guidance, and stopped all mass-market product advertising over the past two-years. This settlement is another step in this direction.Stein began investigating Juul in 2018. Stein sued the company in the same year for "designing and marketing its e-cigarettes in order to attract young people" and for misleadingly describing the danger and potency of nicotine in its products. Juul has been sued in more than a dozen states for similar reasons. However, the North Carolina case is the only one that has been resolved.