NYC getting $27M in settlement against e-cig maker Juul

New York City will receive $27 million as part of a year-old settlement against Juul Labs, the controversial purveyor of vape pens that was ordered to pay out a total of $462 million as part of a court deal in April 2023, city and state leaders announced Wednesday.

The payout to the city is part of a larger pot of money — $112.7 million — that went to New York State as part of the total e-cigarette settlement. Five other states, including California and Illinois, as well as Washington, D.C., are also receiving payouts are part of the settlement.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who sued Juul in 2019 for deceptive and misleading marketing, said Wednesday the money would pay for “education, for prevention, for research and enforcement programs to prevent kids and young adults from vaping.”

“Juul lit a nationwide public health crisis and put addictive products in the hands of minors who thought they were doing something harmless,” she said during a press conference at the Maxine Greene High School on the Upper West Side. “E-cigarette use among middle- and high school students more than doubled after Juul was first introduced in 2015.”

A substantial portion of the cash to the city, $14.9 million, will go toward its schools. Where exactly Mayor Adams’ administration will put the rest of the money was not immediately clear, though it could presumably go toward enforcement efforts and public health research. Adams’ deputy mayor, Fabien Levy, said there are limits on how the money can be spent and that permissible options include vaping prevention, nicotine cessation and enforcement.

“It allows us to be forward thinking on education and driving a real program towards addressing this issue,” Mayor Adams said. “It must be youth led. It’s impacting our young people, and they’re smart enough to come up with the right strategies and the right information to go after how this has just really permeated their youthfulness.”

One possible use for the money could be disposing of the seized vape products.

Councilwoman Gale Brewer pointed out Wednesday that disposal remains a challenge because of the expense associated with it.