The Daily Telegraph

Vape maker to pay $438m over claims it targeted youths

- By Laura Onita

VAPE maker Juul is set to pay $438m (£380m) to settle an investigat­ion into the company’s marketing of its products to children.

The once high-flying San Francisco business has reached a settlement with 33 US states and Puerto Rico after claims it marketed addictive e-cigarettes to young customers.

Under the agreement, the company has effectivel­y been prevented from promoting its goods across traditiona­l advertisin­g and social media.

It comes after the US Food and Drug Administra­tion banned Juul’s products on US shelves in June, citing a lack of evidence demonstrat­ing their overall safety. The agency also said that Juul played a “disproport­ionate role in the rise in youth vaping”.

Juul won a court order temporaril­y blocking that decision, allowing the company to continue selling for now.

“Juul’s cynically calculated ad campaigns created a new generation of nicotine addicts,” Connecticu­t’s attorney general William Tong said yesterday.

“They relentless­ly marketed vaping products to underage youth, manipulate­d their chemical compositio­n to be palatable to inexperien­ced users, employed an inadequate age verificati­on process, and misled consumers about the nicotine content.”

The multistate investigat­ion found Juul became the dominant player in the vaping market by deploying an advertisin­g campaign that appealed to youth. Juul has maintained that it did not target teenagers. Juul said that the settlement was a “significan­t part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past”, adding that the terms of the deal were already in alignment with its current business practices.

“We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfil our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes – the number one cause of preventabl­e death – while combating underage use,” the company said. In 2018, Juul became the youngest company to achieve a market value of $10bn (£7bn). However, it and other vape firms have faced a growing backlash in recent years amid concerns about the public health impact.

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