Juul reaches settlements covering thousands of lawsuits

Dec 7, 2022, 5:25 AM | Updated: Dec 8, 2022, 3:24 am
FILE - Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York, on Dec. 20, 2018. Embattled vaping ...

FILE - Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York, on Dec. 20, 2018. Embattled vaping company Juul Labs announced layoffs Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, as the company tries to weather growing setbacks to its electronic cigarette business, including lawsuits, government bans and increasing competition. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Embattled vaping company Juul Labs has reached settlements covering thousands of lawsuits over its e-cigarettes, which in recent years became a scourge in schools and communities nationwide.

Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Juul said that it has secured an equity investment to fund it.

Buffeted by lawsuits, Juul announced hundreds of layoffs last month and bankruptcy appeared increasingly likely as it secured financing to continue operations.

The e-cigarette maker faced more than 8,000 lawsuits suits brought by individuals and families of Juul users, school districts, city governments and Native American tribes. This week’s settlement resolves most of those cases, which had been consolidated in a California federal court pending several bellwether trials.

“These settlements represent a major step toward strengthening Juul Labs’ operations and securing the company’s path forward,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said in a statement the deal would “put meaningful compensation in hands of victims and their families,” and provide schools and local governments with funding for anti-vaping education programs. A judge is expected to soon review and approve the settlement.

Juul rocketed to the top of the U.S. vaping market five years ago on the popularity of flavors like mango, mint and creme brulee. But the startup’s rise was fueled by use among teenagers, some of whom became hooked on Juul’s high-nicotine pods.

Parents, school administrators and politicians largely blamed the company for a surge in underage vaping, which now includes dozens of flavored e-cigarette brands that are the preferred choice among teens.

Amid the backlash of lawsuits and government sanctions, Juul dropped all U.S. advertising and discontinued most of its flavors in 2019.

In June the Food and Drug Administration rejected Juul’s application to keep its product on the market as a smoking alternative for adults, throwing its future into uncertainty. The FDA said Juul did not adequately address key questions about the potential for chemicals to leach from its device. The FDA has placed a temporary hold on its initial decision while Juul files an appeal.

Then, in September, the San Francisco company agreed to pay nearly $440 million to settle a two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products.

That same month the company’s largest investor, tobacco giant Altria, announced plans to resume competing on its own in the e-cigarette space.

Altria pulled its own e-cigarettes off the market in 2018 after taking a nearly $13 billion stake in Juul. But that investment has lost more than 95% of its value as Juul’s prospects have dimmed, giving Altria the option to exit its non-compete agreement.

That means Juul could soon be forced to battle for space on retail shelves with Marlboro-maker Altria, along with long-standing competitors like Reynolds American’s Vuse, which recently edged past Juul to become the leading U.S. vaping brand.

Juul has also settled with 37 states and territories over the last year and said it’s in ongoing talks with other key stakeholders to resolve remaining litigation.

Anti-tobacco advocates said Wednesday it was impossible to evaluate the terms of the settlement without knowing how much Juul will pay.

“We are extremely troubled by the lack of settlement details provided and by Juul’s apparent public controlling of this settlement narrative,” said Meredith Berkman of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Finland approves changes to transgender laws, cuts red tape

HELSINKI (AP) — Lawmakers in Finland approved amendments Wednesday that will make it substantially easier for people to change their legally recognized gender in the Nordic country. The amendments, which are expected to take effect as soon as possible, also abolish a provision that required transgender people to provide a medical certificate proving they were […]
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Cryptocurrency fraud scheme lands man 8 years in prison

BOSTON (AP) — The founder of a cryptocurrency and virtual payment services company who authorities say cheated dozens of investors out of about $7.5 million, which he used to buy a house, cars, jewelry, and other luxuries, has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Randall Crater, 52, founded Las Vegas-based My Big […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Highway BR-163 stretches between the Tapajos National Forest, left, and a soy field in Belte...
Associated Press

Brazil authorities probe Amazon ties to capital attacks

SAO PAULO (AP) — On the edge of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the Rovaris family is a symbol of a pioneering success story. The family arrived in the state of Mato Grosso in the 1970s as part of a wave of agricultural expansion promoted by the country’s then-military dictatorship. In a short span, the Rovaris clan […]
9 hours ago
A hiring sign is displayed outside of a restaurant in Arlington Heights, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 202...
Associated Press

U.S. job openings rise in December to 11 million

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings rose to 11 million in December, a sign the American labor market remains hot and a blow to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool it off. The Labor Department said Wednesday that openings were up from 10.4 million in November. Economists had expected job openings to drop slightly in […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to the crowd during a welcome ceremony in Sara...
Associated Press

Erdogan: Sweden can’t join NATO if Quran-burning is allowed

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed Wednesday that Turkey won’t allow Sweden to join the NATO military alliance as long as the Scandinavian country permits protests desecrating Islam’s holy book to take place. Turkey, which has been holding off approving Sweden and Finland’s membership in the Western military alliance, has been […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, on Oct. 20, 2022....
Associated Press

Spain’s PM heads to Morocco to reap benefits of mended ties

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez travels to Rabat on Wednesday along with 12 ministers before a meeting with Moroccan government officials, as part of the European country’s strategy to improve historically complex relations with its neighbor across the Strait of Gibraltar. The visit comes 10 months after Sánchez went to meet […]
9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Juul reaches settlements covering thousands of lawsuits