County Counsel, working with the California Attorney General and Los Angeles District Attorney, sued JUUL in 2019 alleging False Advertising, Unfair Competition, and Public Nuisance in the sales and marketing of JUUL’s vaping products. The complaint alleged that JUUL engaged in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for youth to purchase and unhealthy for them to use. Allegations included that JUUL marketed to underage users with launch parties, advertisements using young and trendy-looking models, social media posts, and free samples. The complaint alleged that JUUL sold flavors that it knew would attract underage users, relied knowingly on ineffective age verification techniques, and failed to warn consumers that consuming one JUUL pod equated to smoking one pack of combustible cigarettes. Since the filing of the County’s lawsuit, the County and State have adopted bans on flavored tobacco products, and JUUL has changed its advertising and marketing practices.
In April 2023, the parties resolved the litigation as part of a $462 million settlement involving 6 states. The County will receive $46 million, including civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs, and abatement funds. The County will use the abatement funds for preventing and treating nicotine addiction, and for consumer and public education related to vaping and nicotine use and addiction. California will receive $175 million, the highest amount of any state settlement yet reached with JUUL. Money from the settlement will help California fund research, education, and enforcement efforts related to e-cigarettes.
*Although JUUL settled this lawsuit, it did not admit liability; nor did it admit the allegations of the County’s complaint.
Supervisor Hahn speaking at press conference announcing JUUL lawsuit with California’s Attorney General and Los Angeles District Attorney.