NY Attorney General Letitia James Issues Update on $112 Million Lawsuit Win

Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James has provided an update on the distribution of settlement funds from Juul Labs Inc., the electronic cigarette maker.

Last year, Juul agreed to pay $462 million to several states and Washington, D.C., to resolve a lawsuit over its marketing of addictive nicotine products.

New York’s share of this settlement amounts to $112.7 million.

On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, AG James announced that $27.1 million from the settlement has already been allocated, with approximately $12 million directed to New York City and nearly $15 million going to the New York City School District.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the settlement funds will be distributed to every county in the state, the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), and the five largest cities.

These funds are earmarked for programs aimed at reducing and preventing underage vaping. The designated areas for fund allocation include:

  1. Public education campaigns to prevent e-cigarette use among young people
  2. Community, school, and university-based anti-vaping programs
  3. Vaping cessation services in communities, schools, and colleges
  4. Enforcement of vaping laws and regulations
  5. Public health research on e-cigarette use among young people and the effectiveness of anti-vaping programs

“Juul created a nationwide public health crisis by sparking a wave of addiction among children,” said AG James. “Young people are suffering because Juul built its business by marketing addictive e-cigarettes to kids. Thanks to our efforts to hold Juul accountable, New York City will receive over $27 million for valuable programs to fight back against the youth vaping epidemic. Our children’s health is on the line, and these funds will be used for education, prevention, enforcement, and research to keep our kids safe.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams echoed these sentiments, stating:

“Today, we are taking millions of dollars from Juul Labs and investing it directly into the community and in our youth through prevention, education, and enforcement efforts. Juul Labs has raked in billions of dollars while creating a public health crisis and putting thousands of teenagers on the path to addiction. Nicotine addiction among middle and high school youth is exploding, and this administration will not sit idly by as nicotine-pushers continue to harm our youth.”

This settlement is among several legal agreements Juul has entered into, which include restrictions on its marketing and distribution practices. These restrictions ban marketing to youth, prohibit using individuals under 35 in promotional materials, and limit the number of product purchases customers can make in stores and online.

In April 2023, Juul stated”

“This settlement with seven state attorneys general represents another critical part in our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the company’s past. The terms of the agreement, like prior settlements, provide financial resources to further combat underage use and develop cessation programs and reflect our current business practices, which were implemented as part of our company-wide reset in the fall of 2019.”

Juul also cited the National Youth Tobacco Survey, noting a 95 percent decline in underage use of Juul products since its reset.

Recently, on June 6, the Food and Drug Administration reversed a ban on Juul’s e-cigarette products.

The FDA clarified that this action was not an approval of Juul’s marketing applications but rather a move to return those applications to pending review status.

This follows the FDA’s 2022 order for Juul to cease selling its products, which remained on shelves pending an appeal.