KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An agreement has been made between the vaping giant and 34 states placing restrictions on the advertising and marketing of JUUL products, along with financial sanctions, according to the news release from the state attorney general’s office.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti announced a $438.5 million agreement between JUUL Labs and 34 states and territories after a two-year bipartisan investigation into JUUL’s manufacturer’s marketing and sales practices.

“JUUL deliberately encouraged kids to vape and now the company is paying for that misconduct,” Skrmetti said. “I appreciate the collaboration among our bipartisan group of state attorneys general to hold JUUL accountable and stop their deceptive and harmful marketing practices.”

The settlement forces JUUL to comply with a series of sanctions that would limit its marketing and sales practices, according to the news release. The investigation alleged that JUUL rose to its popularity in the vaping market based on its campaigns appealing to youth, even though the products they sold were both illegal and unhealthy for minors to use.

“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. It marketed a technology-focused, sleek design that could be easily concealed and sold its product in flavors intended to attract underage users. To preserve its young customer base, JUUL relied on age verification techniques that it knew were ineffective.” the news release said.

Additionally, the AG’s office said that the investigation found that JUUL’s original packaging was misleading and suggested that the products contained less nicotine. Consumers of the products were also led to believe that one JUUL pod was the equivalent of smoking a pack of combustible cigarettes, according to the news release.

The restrictions placed on the company in the settlement mean that JUUL has agreed to refrain from:

  • 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
  • Making representations about nicotine not approved by FDA
  • Making misleading representations about nicotine content
  • Sponsorships/naming rights
  • Advertising in outlets unless 85 percent 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 restrictions also include limitations on where products can be placed or accessed in stores, online sales, limits on retail sales, age verification for all sales and a retail compliance check protocol.

Of the $438.5 million, Tennessee is set to receive approximately $13 million.

The states that have signed the agreement are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,  Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The investigation was led by Connecticut, Texas, and Oregon.