CHICAGO (AP) – Vaping company Juul Labs will pay Chicago $23.8 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company marketed products to underage users, the city announced Friday.
The Chicago Department of Public Health will use the money for youth prevention and reduction programs, education and outreach, according to a city press release.
The settlement is the latest payout from the embattled e-cigarette giant, which laid off hundreds of workers and settled thousands of lawsuits brought by families of Juul users, school districts, city governments and Native American tribes last year.
“JUUL appealed to youth with their colorful, playful media and social media marketing and used high nicotine contents to fuel ongoing use,” a city press release said.
The company agreed to pay $2.8 million within 30 days and the rest later this year, the statement said.
“E-cigarette businesses cannot be allowed to come in our city and boost their profits at the expense of minors. The use of any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, among youth is a serious public health concern – to CDPH and parents across Chicago,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, who is quoted in the release.
A Juul spokesman called the resolution “another step in our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past, place our company on a path forward, and fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from [Cigarettes, cigars, and cigarillos]combustible cigarettes while combating underage use of our products,” referring to traditional smoking products such as cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last June ordered Juul to stop marketing and distributing its products in the United States to protect public health, another potential blow to the company straining to stay in business.
However, the FDA later placed a temporary hold on its decision following a legal challenge from Juul. The FDA is now conducting an additional review of the company’s products.