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Juul to pay $439 million to settle investigation into e-cigarette marketing



(Reuters) — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. has agreed to pay $438.5 million to settle claims by 34 U.S. states and territories that it downplayed the risks of its products and targeted underage buyers, several said states on Tuesday.

As part of the settlement, Juul has agreed to refrain from certain types of marketing, including the use of cartoons, product placements and depictions of users under 35. The deal stems from a two-year investigation led by Connecticut, Texas and Oregon.

Juul, which has not admitted wrongdoing, called the settlement “a significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past” and said the marketing restrictions were consistent with its practices since it undertook a “company-wide reset”

; in 2019. The company at the time pulled most flavors from the market and stopped much of its advertising under pressure from regulators.

Juul previously settled similar claims from Arizona, North Carolina, Louisiana and Washington. Some states, including New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois, continue to pursue claims against Juul.

Thousands of local governments and individuals have also filed lawsuits against the company, most of which have been consolidated in federal court in San Francisco.

The first trial is set for November, in a case brought by the San Francisco school district. The next trial, scheduled for January, will be in a case brought by the family of a Tennessee teenager who allegedly became addicted to Juul’s e-cigarettes.

The US Food and Drug Administration in June briefly banned the products, though it put the ban on hold and agreed to reconsider after the company appealed.

Nonetheless, Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc. said in July that its 35% stake in Juul was worth just $450 million, down from $12.8 billion in March 2018, amid fears that the company would ultimately not get approval.


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