PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a pending $438.5 million, multi-state settlement with the e-cigarette company Juul Labs on Sept. 6.

The settlement was the result of a bipartisan, two-year investigation into the company’s marketing and sales practices, which officials say “relentlessly” targeted children. 

In addition to paying hundreds of millions of dollars, JUUL has also agreed to comply with strict injunctive terms that will limit the company’s marketing and sales practices.

“The multistate investigation revealed that JUUL willfully engaged in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them to purchase and unhealthy for children,” the announcement states. “The investigation found that JUUL relentlessly marketed to underage users with launch parties, advertisements using young and trendy-looking models, social media posts and free samples.”

The investigation also determined that JUUL marketed to kids with Launch parties, young, “trendy-looking” models, social media posts and free samples. Its e-cigarette models were reportedly “sleek,” “easily concealed” and used flavors that are attractive to children. The company also reportedly manipulated the chemical composition of its products to make vaping “less harsh” for inexperienced smokers.

JUUL also misled consumers of all ages about the product’s nicotine contents and its viability as a means of quitting smoking, without FDA approval, the investigation concluded.

“The conduct that led to this settlement was reprehensible and demonstrates pure corporate greed at its most damaging,” Rosenblum said. “Just when we were starting to make serious progress reducing tobacco use among our young people, JUUL came along and hooked another generation. They intentionally targeted kids with slick and misleading ads to get them hooked on their nicotine products. The cost to society and the public health consequences are enormous and devastating.”

The state of Oregon, which co-led the investigation with Connecticut and Texas, will receive $18.8 million in the settlement, but could receive as much as $20.5 million if JUUL extends its payment schedule. Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming also aided in the investigation.

The states are in the process of finalizing the settlement, which is expected to be completed within a month

As part of the agreement, Juul is forbidden from participating in:

  • Youth marketing
  • Funding education programs
  • Depicting persons under age 35 in any marketing
  • Use of cartoons
  • Paid product placement
  • Sale of brand name merchandise
  • Sale of flavors not approved by FDA
  • Allowing access to websites without age verification on landing page
  • Representations about nicotine not approved by FDA
  • Misleading representations about nicotine content
  • Sponsorships/naming rights
  • Advertising in outlets unless 85 percent audience is adult
  • Advertising on billboards
  • Public transportation advertising
  • Social media advertising (other than testimonials by individuals over the age of 35, with no health claims)
  • Use of paid influencers
  • Direct-to-consumer ads unless age-verified, and
  • Free samples