Juul to Pay Over $1 Billion to Settle Vaping Lawsuits

Juul to Pay Over $1 Billion to Settle Vaping Lawsuits

After a series of state payouts, Juul has agreed to shell out reportedly $1.2 billion to settle more than 5,000 lawsuits. The settlement will cover claims relating to the company’s vaping products. Lawsuits allege Juul purposefully marketed its e-cigarettes to minors. Over the last few years, extensive litigation and the FDA’s market denial order backed the e-cigarette company into a corner. With layoffs and rumors of bankruptcy looming, Juul reached a settlement in December 2022 to resolve cases consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Northern California. 

The Rapid Rise of Juul E-Cigarettes

Juul devices debuted in 2015 and, by November 2017, became one of the best-selling e-cigarettes on the market. The company introduced Juul products as a safer alternative to cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. In a short time, the vaping products quickly soared in sales. Launch parties and a prevalent social media presence contributed to the company’s domination of the e-cigarette market. Only three years after its introduction, Juul accounted for over 70% of the U.S. e-cigarette market. At its peak, the company’s value stood at an estimated $38 billion. 

While the company’s sales skyrocketed, cracks began to show by 2018. Several reports surfaced that suggested Juul products attracted a fervent following among minors. 

Juul Accused of Targeting Underage Consumers

Lawsuits argue that the company skewed products toward younger audiences through flavors, social media, and discrete packaging. Studies suggest mint, mango, crème brulee, fruit medley, and cucumber flavors heavily enticed those under 21. These products comprised ⅓ of Juul’s sales before the company ceased distributing flavored pods in 2019. The simple designs of Juul devices made it easy for minors to sneak puffs and conceal the vapes from adults. 

Federal agencies and lawsuits also list Juul’s deceptive marketing as a factor that fueled the teen vaping crisis. Juul ads regularly displayed young models enjoying e-cigarette products while socializing, which may have influenced thousands of minors to follow suit. The company downplayed the presence of nicotine in its products in favor of pushing vaping devices as safer than regular cigarettes. 

Yet, the addictive nature of Juul vape products, especially among minors, grew increasingly apparent. A study released in 2021 by the FDA and CDC estimated that more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2021. Of these 2 million, more than 8 in 10 of those youth used flavored e-cigarettes. 

Juul Settles More Than 5,000 E-Cigarette Lawsuits

Various entities have filed Juul e-cigarette lawsuits. School districts, local governments, families, and Native American tribes seek retribution for the company’s alleged role in teen vaping. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized Juul lawsuits in 2019 in light of increasing litigation. By November 2022, the multidistrict litigation grew to 4,526 claims.

From 2021 to 2022, Juul has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to a number of states who brought teen addiction lawsuits against the company. Individual states that have received large payouts from the vaping company include North Carolina, Arizona, and Washington. Furthermore, in September, Juul agreed to a $438.5 million settlement with 34 states for its marketing and sales practices. 

On December 6, 2022, the company announced it reached settlements covering more than 5,000 cases. The settlement amount is reported to be $1.2 billion. Juul has not released full terms for the settlement but denies marketing to adolescents. An investment from early investors will fund the sizable lawsuit.