Juul agreed to a $438.5 million multistate settlement Tuesday for its misleading marketing tactics. Photo by sarahjohnson1/Pixabay
Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Juul reached an agreement Tuesday to pay $438.5 million to 33 states and Puerto Rico after a probe into the cigarette manufacturer's marketing and sales practices.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a news release that the deal would force Juul to comply with a series of "strict injunctive terms severely limiting their marketing and sales practices."
Juul must refrain from youth marketing, paid product placement, advertising on public transportation, and funding education programs, among other things, the statement said. Juul had been on criticism for its aggressive marketing towards youth.
"Juul's cynically calculated advertising campaigns created a new generation of nicotine addicts," Tong said in the statement. "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 and addictiveness of its products."
Juul told CNN the settlement is "a significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past."
Tuesday's deal is a continuation of the company's recent legal troubles. In April, Juul reached a similar agreement with the state of Washington to pay $22.5 million to settle accusations of marketing to underage customers.
In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration imposed a ban on the sale of Juul's products, until the regulator could review the company's products. However, in July the FDA removed that ban.
Tong said Tuesday that the investigation had revealed that Juul's packaging was misleading because it did not clearly disclose that it contained nicotine. The company also repeatedly targeted underage users on social media.
"It marketed a technology-focused, sleek design that could be easily concealed and sold its product in flavors known to be attractive to underage users," Tong said in the statement."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a news release the settlement would help accomplish his goals to "make sure that JUUL was held liable for any wrongdoing done in the past and ensure that they change direction to fully comply with the law going forward."