E-cigarette maker Juul Labs agreed to pay nearly $440 million in order to settle a two-year investigation by 33 states over the company’s advertising and marketing practices, which are blamed for fueling a nationwide teenage nicotine vaping trend, National Public Radio reported. 

The agreement, announced Sept. 6 by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, has Juul paying the states and Puerto Rico $438.5 million over 6-10 years. The Attorneys General brought forth their lawsuits because of the alleged role Juul played in young people becoming hooked on nicotine. 

According to a release issued by the Office of the Attorney General of Connecticut, Tong stated, "Through this settlement, we have secured hundreds of millions of dollars to help reduce nicotine use and forced Juul to accept a series of strict injunctive terms to end youth marketing and crack down on underage sales.” 

The two-year investigation by the states concluded that Juul intentionally marketed its highly-addictive vaping products to teenagers through social media advertisements, cartoons, launch parties, social media influencers and product giveaways, all of which featured young models in order to attract minors and young adults to the vaping lifestyle. 

Previously, Juul reached settlements with the states of Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and Washington. The company faces nine additional lawsuits filed by other U.S. states that did not sign on to the settlement. Juul also faces hundreds of personal injury lawsuits filed by attorneys representing teenagers and other users of Juul’s electronic nicotine products.

Although Juul has ceased its youth-oriented marketing and advertising practices, the e-cigarette company that once captured over 40% of the U.S. e-cigarette market in 2020 was ordered by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to remove all its products from the marketplace in June. Juul successfully managed to temporarily appeal the order. In the meantime, the FDA is reviewing the science on Juul’s products. 

This settlement will go towards vaping prevention efforts.