King County, Washington, has reached a $2.3 million settlement in its lawsuit against e-cigarette company JUUL Labs. The lawsuit accused JUUL of targeting young people with its marketing campaigns, leading to an increase in youth nicotine addiction.
King County filed the lawsuit in 2020, alleging that JUUL’s marketing strategies targeted minors by using bright colors, youthful models, and fruit-flavored vaping products. The lawsuit further claimed that the company’s actions contributed to the rise in e-cigarette use among young people, reversing decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco consumption.
JUUL Labs has agreed to the settlement without admitting any wrongdoing. The $2.3 million will be used to fund public health programs in King County, including efforts to combat youth tobacco and e-cigarette use.
Public health advocates have long criticized JUUL for its role in the youth vaping epidemic. The company, which once held over 70% of the US e-cigarette market, has faced numerous lawsuits from state and local governments. In November 2021, JUUL reached a $14.5 million settlement with Washington state for similar claims.
As part of its efforts to rebuild its image, JUUL Labs has discontinued its fruit-flavored products and implemented age-verification systems to prevent sales to minors. Despite these measures, critics argue that the company’s past actions continue to have lasting effects on youth nicotine addiction rates.
The King County settlement is just one of the many legal challenges JUUL Labs continues to face across the United States. The company is currently involved in negotiations to settle a nationwide lawsuit brought by several state attorneys general, which could result in a multi-billion dollar payout.