AG Raoul says company targeted children, caused public health crisis
By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Wednesday that he and six other attorneys general have settled a lawsuit against e-cigarette manufacturer Juul that will net Illinois $67.6 million.
That amount represents Illinois’ share of a $462 million multistate settlement in a lawsuit that accused the company of illegally marketing its products to children.
“Directing my consumer division to initiate an investigation into Juul was a day-one priority for me after I was sworn in in February of 2019,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said during a video news conference. “Within months of taking office we served an extensive civil investigative demand on the company and before the end of 2019 we had filed suit. We’ve been aggressively litigating against them in Illinois since.”
The lawsuit was just the latest in a string of cases Juul has settled in recent months. Since 2019, the company said in a statement, it has reached settlements with 47 states and territories, paying out more than $1 billion.
As part of its settlement with Illinois, Juul also agreed not to market its products to people under 21, not to use social media influencers to promote its products and to require consumers to be age verified before they can view any of its website content, among other restrictions.
“This settlement with seven state attorneys general represents another critical part in our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the company’s past,” the company said. “The terms of the agreement, like prior settlements, provide financial resources to further combat underage use and develop cessation programs and reflect our current business practices, which were implemented as part of our company-wide reset in the fall of 2019.”
In April 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker signed a law raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. And in 2021, he signed another law applying the same age limit to vaping products and banning advertising that promotes vaping as a method of quitting tobacco use.
Raoul and the other attorneys general in the case said proceeds of the settlement would be used for enforcement of vaping laws, treatment and programs aimed at preventing underage nicotine use.
The other states involved in the suit were New York, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Colorado, as well as Washington, D.C.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.