Story by Rose Lundy, The Maine Monitor
The Maine Attorney General’s Office on Friday decided to walk away from an $11 million agreement with electronic cigarette manufacturer Juul after objecting to certain conditions from the company.
Maine was set to receive about $11 million over the next six to 10 years as part of a nearly $440 million settlement between the manufacturer and 33 states and territories. The investigation found that Juul had marketed its products to youth.
However, as part of the agreement, Juul wanted states to waive the rights of school districts to pursue their own lawsuits, according to the Maine AG’s Office. Maine wasn’t willing to agree to that.
“We are disappointed in the outcome of these negotiations, but ultimately we were unwilling to waive the rights of other entities who are also trying to hold Juul accountable for its deception,” Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a statement to The Maine Monitor.
It was not immediately clear if other states would also abandon the agreement.
Juul Labs agreed to the preliminary settlement earlier this month but it had not yet been finalized. As part of the settlement, Juul must also comply with strict terms limiting their marketing practices.
The investigation found that Juul campaigned to youth with launch parties, social media posts and free samples.
In a statement at the time, Juul Labs said the terms of the agreement “are aligned with our current business practices which we started to implement after our company-wide reset in the Fall of 2019.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this summer banned Juul from selling e-cigarettes, but the agency quickly decided to halt the ban to do further review. Juul said it submitted an administrative appeal to the ban, demonstrating that the denial order was “substantively and procedurally flawed and should be rescinded.”
“We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes – the number one cause of preventable death — while combating underage use,” the company said.
This story was originally published by The Maine Monitor. The Maine Monitor is a local journalism product published by The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, a nonpartisan and nonprofit civic news organization.
Rose Lundy is the public health reporter for The Maine Monitor, and is a 2020 Report for America corps member. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.