North Carolina’s Attorney General announced that Juul agreed to change its business practices and will pay $40 million to settle charges that the e-cigarette maker created a teen vaping epidemic.

“For years, JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette. It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children – one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina,” Attorney General Josh Stein said in a June 28, 2021 statement.

North Carolina began investigating Juul in 2018. Then, the state filed the lawsuit in 2019, accusing the e-cig maker of selling, marketing and designing its vaping devices to appeal to young people.

This settlement is the first in a handful of state lawsuits still pending against Juul. In addition, 39 states are investigating the company, according to the Associated Press.

“This win will go a long way in keeping JUUL products out of kids’ hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains. I’m incredibly proud of my team for their hard work on behalf of North Carolina families,” Stein added.

Settlement Will Help Fund Programs for Vaping Cessation and Addiction Prevention

According to the terms of the settlement, the company will pay $40 million over the next six years. The settlement will help fund programs that research e-cigarettes as well as help people quit and prevent addiction.

Juul said it supports the proposed use of the funds to reduce underage use.

“This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers,” Juul said in a statement.

In addition to paying $40 million, Juul will change its marketing practices. This includes not targeting people under age 21 with most social media advertising, influencers or sponsoring events geared toward young people.

Juul Faces Hundreds More Lawsuits, Regulatory Woes

Individuals and other entities — such as the San Diego School District — are also suing Juul.

The lawsuits claim the company marketed to minors, promotes nicotine addiction and used deceptive advertising to downplay the addictiveness of its products.

Other individual Juul lawsuits claimed the company’s e-cigs caused injuries such as: Stroke, seizures, lung disease, lung injury and even death.

As of July 15, 2021, the number of Juul lawsuits pending in California federal court was 2,339.

Juul is also awaiting a decision from the FDA on whether or not it will be allowed to sell several of its products in the United States. The FDA is set to finish reviewing Juul’s Premarket Tobacco Application in September, according to the New York Times.

Several organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association, have written a letter urging the FDA in a letter to consider discovery documents from the North Carolina case when evaluating “whether the continued sale of JUUL e-cigarettes are ‘appropriate for the protection of the public health.’”