KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has filed to help ensure that JUUL Labs, Inc. is in compliance with terms of a settlement that awarded Tennessee $13 million the AG’s office said in a release.
The settlement came after a two-year, bipartisan 34-state investigation into the company’s marketing and sales practices according to the AG’s Office. Tennessee will receive approximately $13 million from the $434.9 million total settlement that was announced by the AG’s office in September.
In the December 7 release, it was stated that Skrmetti filed a Complaint and Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) relating to Tennessee’s settlement with JUUL Labs. Lane explained that complaint was a document to open a case with the court so the AVC, which is the settlement that was reached previously, could be filed. The complaint and AVC served to formalize the terms of the settlement, Press Secretary Elizabeth Lane said.
The main premise of the original investigation was that JUUL willfully engaged in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth while the product was illegal for them to purchase and unhealthy for them to consume, according to the release.
“JUUL tailored their product and advertisements to minors, thus luring them into vaping and, in
some cases, nicotine addiction,” Lane said. “The company is paying for that misconduct. The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office appreciates the collaboration among our bipartisan group of attorneys general to hold JUUL accountable and stop their deceptive and harmful marketing practices.”
In the settlement reported in September and the new accordance with the previsions of the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance the Attorney General’s Office announced that JUUL agreed to refrain from:
- Youth marketing
- Funding education programs
- Depicting persons under 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
- Making representations about nicotine not approved by FDA
- Making misleading representations about nicotine content
- Sponsorships/naming rights
- Advertising in outlets unless 85 percent of the audience is adult
- Advertising on billboards
- Advertising on public transportation
- Advertising on social media (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
“The filing of the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance is an important step toward ensuring JUUL will not engage in deceptive and harmful marketing practices in the future.” The release from Skrmetti’s office read.
In addition to these measures, the AG’s office says the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance also includes sales and distribution restrictions, including restrictions on where the products may be displayed/accessed in stores, online sales limits, retail sales limits, age verification on all sales, and a retail compliance check protocol.
EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated with new information.