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Thursday, September 21, 2023
Sept. 21, 2023

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King County to receive $23 million in Juul lawsuit settlement


SEATTLE — King County will receive more than $23 million to settle its lawsuit against Juul, the e-cigarette company.

King County sued Juul Labs Inc. in 2019, accusing the company of targeting children and teenagers in advertising and marketing its flavored vaping products.

According to a memo from the county’s lawyers, King County, as part of a global settlement agreement between Juul and thousands of local governments and individuals, is eligible for up to $23.8 million, minus attorneys’ fees and other costs. King County could be eligible for up to an additional $1.8 million, as part of a bonus settlement agreement, the memo says.

Settlement money will be used for local tobacco-use prevention efforts, the county said.

“There’s no higher priority than the health and well-being of our kids, and we can’t let the progress we’ve made be threatened by persistent youth nicotine use,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a prepared statement. “This settlement will support programs that prevent youth tobacco and vapor product use and provide resources for those already using these products to quit.”

Last year Juul agreed to pay the state of Washington $22.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged it intentionally targeted teenagers.

That settlement also required Juul to conduct a “secret shopper” program in Washington to confirm the ages of its customers.

Earlier this month the company agreed to pay $462 million to settle lawsuits brought by six states and the District of Columbia.

In recommending that King County agree to the settlement, the county’s lawyers wrote that there were “significant uncertainties” regarding Juul’s solvency.

Juul has said its products were never designed for youth and are targeted to adults looking for alternatives to cigarettes. It has said it suspended all print, broadcast and digital advertising in the United States in 2019.