E-cigarette giant Juul settles in a deceptive practice lawsuit for $14.5 million. Juul was accused of marketing its highly addictive nicotine products to appeal to and target young people while misleading them on the risks associated with these products. All Juul e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. According to the manufacturer, a single pod contains as much nicotine as 20 regular cigarettes. Further, the company did nothing to prevent the sale of its products to minors.
Nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Each time we have a memory, or a new skill is learned, synapses are built between brain cells. Young people build synapses in the brain faster than adults, but nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed. Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, but they know that vaping increases the risk for future addiction to other drugs.
Although e-cigarettes are so detrimental to adolescent health, Juul used flavors and marketing to make their product more appealing to youth. Their e-cigarettes came in various flavors including fruit, candy, mint, and menthol. Where conventional tobacco product advertisement is prohibited, widespread advertising for vapes was broadcast.
The settlement requires Juul to pay $14.5 million in damages and make changes to its corporate practices. This agreement requires Juul not to advertise near schools or target anyone under the age of 21. The company will also be prohibited from using social media to market. A large chunk of this settlement will go towards youth programs to help decrease the amount of youth vaping.