Do You Vape? Montana AG Gets $6.1 Million From JUUL Labs
This week, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced that the State of Montana will receive at LEAST $6.1 million from a multi-state investigation into JUUL Labs marketing and sales practices. The settlement also forces JUUL to comply with strict rules and regulations limiting their marketing and sales practices.
Who is JUUL?
JUUL has been the leader in the vape market for years, and until recently, was mostly running freely from government oversight. JUUL makes the hugely popular vaping device, and pods, which over the years was marketed as a sleek and high tech alternative to smoking.
What deceptive tactics did JUUL use?
According to the investigation, JUUL was found to have marketed directly to underage users by utilizing "launch parties", advertisements using young and trendy-looking models, social media advertising and free samples. JUUL went to great lengths to engineer their vape solution to make the vapor less harsh on users throats, making the devices more attractive to the younger audience. JUUL claimed to have implemented age-verification techniques, however the investigation proved those ineffective.
The packaging was misleading.
After further investigation into JUUL Labs, their original packaging did not clearly disclose that JUUL pods contained nicotine, and implied the pods contained a lower concentration of nicotine than they actually did. Users assumed that consuming one JUUL pod was equal to an entire pack of cigarettes, when that was not the case. JUUL also claimed their product was to assist in users quitting smoking, but did not have FDA approval for those claims.
What states took part in the investigation?
34 states and territories were apart of the investigation, and the process of finalization and documentation for the settlement is ongoing with a 3-4 week completion time. In total, the settlement is $438.5 million and is to be paid out over 6 to 10 years, with the amounts increasing if the company takes longer to make the payments.
What restrictions does JUUL have now?
According to the settlement, the following are the marketing tactics JUUL Labs must not do:
- Youth marketing
- Funding education programs
- Depicting persons under age 35 in any marketing
- Use of cartoons
- Paid product placement
- Sale of brand name merchandise
- Sale of flavors not approved by FDA
- Allowing access to websites without age verification on landing page
- Representations about nicotine not approved by FDA
- Misleading representations about nicotine content
- Sponsorships/naming rights
- Advertising in outlets unless 85 percent audience is adult
- Advertising on billboards
- Public transportation advertising
- Social media advertising (other than testimonials by individuals over the age of 35, with no health claims)
- Use of paid influencers
- Direct-to-consumer ads unless age-verified, and
- Free samples.
JUUL also has restrictions on how the product can be displayed in stores, sold online, required age verification and more.
If you'd like to read the entire settlement from AG Knudsen, click the button below.