Juul to pay $438.5M in e-cig marketing settlement

STORY: E-cigarette maker Juul Labs has agreed to pay $438.5 million to settle claims by nearly 3 dozen U.S. states and territories that it downplayed its products' risks and targeted underage buyers.

The deal stems from a two-year investigation led by Connecticut, Texas and Oregon.

As part of the settlement announced Tuesday, Juul will also refrain from some forms of marketing including the use of cartoons, as well as product placement and depictions of users under 35.

Juul, which has not admitted wrongdoing, called the settlement "a significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past," and said that the marketing restrictions were consistent with its practices since it undertook a "company-wide reset" in 2019.

At that time, the company pulled most flavors from the market and halted much of its advertising under pressure from regulators.

New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois are continuing to pursue claims against Juul, and at least four other states have already settled with e-cigarette maker.

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

The U.S. 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 in July said its 35% stake in Juul was worth just $450 million, down from $12.8 billion in March 2018, amid fears that the company would not ultimately secure approval.