CEH Reaches Legally Binding Settlement with JUUL Restricting Its Marketing to Youth

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 17th (2:30 a.m. ET)

Contacts: Michael Green, CEH’s CEO and Founder, 510-378-7333, Caroline Cox, CEH’s Senior Scientist, 541-654-2626, Zack Kaldveer, CEH’s Communications Manager, 510-938-2664

If JUUL violates any component of settlement it will open itself up to future lawsuits

Oakland, CA- Today, the environmental health watchdog Center for Environmental Health (CEH) announced it has reached a legally binding, court-enforceable settlement with JUUL, the largest e-cigarette manufacturer in the world, mandating strong restrictions on marketing and advertising its toxic and addictive products to children. The settlement marks the first time the company has agreed to legally binding restrictions on youth marketing.

“This settlement will reduce the number of children getting addicted to a neurotoxin like nicotine and help protect them from other toxic chemicals present in JUUL products,” said CEH’s CEO Michael Green. “CEH intends to monitor the company closely and if JUUL violates our agreement by one inch, we will sue them again. This victory is personal for me. My kids are 12 and 10: the exact ages these restrictions on marketing are designed to protect.”

As cigarette smoking has declined, JUUL – 35% of which is owned by Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris – experienced a 641% increase in sales between 2016 and 2017. JUUL is run by long-time Big Tobacco executives and enjoys over 70% of the market share of e-cigarettes.  A survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found teen e-cigarette use doubled between 2017 and 2018. Since June of 2018, we have seen an explosion in youth vaping with over 27% of high school students now regularly using e-cigarettes. The rapid growth in e-cigarette use among youth has coincided with its increasingly widespread social media presence, targeted youth advertising, and appealing flavors, such as mango and fruit medley.

A typical JUUL cartridge contains approximately as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes – delivering it up to 2.7 times faster than other e-cigarettes, increasing the potential for addiction. Emerging science suggests this may make it more difficult to quit vaping than actual cigarettes. Nicotine is a neurotoxin that affects the central nervous and circulatory systems, causing blood vessels to constrict and raise blood pressure. 

“We all know that Big Tobacco lied and obfuscated for decades, but the health impacts of cigarettes is irrefutable now. Young people today think that smoking is gross, so Big Tobacco switched to a new product: e-cigarettes,” said Green. “JUUL uses sophisticated and targeted marketing to convince youth that e-cigarettes are safe. We just couldn’t sit back and allow Big Tobacco to hook a new generation of nicotine addicts.”

CEH’s settlement established the right to sue JUUL if they violate any portion of this agreement. The settlement requires JUUL to take the following legally binding steps:

  • Cannot advertise or promote its products in media whose audience is 15% or more under the age of 21;
  • Cannot market or advertise on social media (except for JUUL’s age-restricted YouTube channel);
  • Cannot use models under the age of 28 in its advertisements;
  • Cannot advertise within 1000 feet of schools or playgrounds;
  • Cannot sponsor or advertise at sporting events or concerts that allow people under the age of 21;
  • Cannot pay for or permit company employees or contractors to appear at school or youth-oriented educational programs or events;
  • Must replace the terms “adults only” or “not for use by minors,” which may entice minors to use JUUL products, with the phrase “the sale of tobacco products to minors is prohibited by law”;
  • Sets clear limits on bulk sales of JUUL products at brick and mortar outlets, as well as on-line;
  • Requires JUUL to continue its “secret shopper” program with specific rules on actions JUUL must take if a store sells a product to a JUUL secret shopper without asking for proof of age.

“The e-cigarette market is a nearly $7 billion uncontrolled experiment on our children’s health,” said Green. “It will take a movement to defeat Big Tobacco and the youth vaping epidemic. Our litigation is one important piece of that movement.”

The settlement will also help fund CEH’s continued work protecting children and families from toxic chemicals and allows it to donate $1 million to Truth Initiative®, the national public health organization that directs a hard-hitting anti-vaping truth® campaign.

For a copy of the settlement contact Zack Kaldveer by phone for the username and password to access it.

CEH works with parents, communities, businesses, workers, and government to protect children and families from toxic chemicals in homes, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods.

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