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JUUL to pay $40 million settlement to North Carolina for youth vaping case

Duke banned all smoking and vaping on campus in July 2020 citing similar concerns

JUUL will pay $40 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the state of North Carolina that claimed that the company’s products were causing young people to become addicted to nicotine. The settlement, which was announced Monday morning, makes North Carolina the first state in the country to successfully hold JUUL accountable for the issue of youth addiction. 

Thirteen other states have also filed lawsuits against Juul. The main point of these cases is that Juul either was aware or should have been aware that their products were causing teenagers to become addicted to nicotine. 

While JUUL e-cigarettes were initially marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, the product attracted many young users who hadn’t previously been exposed to nicotine. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration declared an epidemic of e-cigarette use among youth. 

“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,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein wrote in a statement

Because of the settlement, JUULwill avoid a trial this summer while the FDA decides whether its products will be permitted to remain on the market. 

Duke’s smoking ban

Duke operates under a tobacco-free policy that went into effect in July 2021. The policy prohibits “all tobacco-related products,” which includes e-cigarettes. 

This policy applies to all students, staff, faculty, visitors, contractors and volunteers on “property and grounds owned and leased by Duke University,” according to the Healthy Duke website. Anyone who violates the policy is referred to tobacco cessation treatment. 

In an October 2019 letter to The Chronicle, eight Duke professors argued in favor of a ban on e-cigarettes. Four days later, a letter signed by 14 worldwide tobacco and addiction experts argued against a vaping ban.

In 2017, the Duke Smoke Free Initiative and Duke Student Government members participated in efforts to create an anti-smoking policy, citing research suggesting that 67 percent of smokers will die of a smoking-related illness.

However, they hoped to continue to allow e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco on campus. Duke added e-cigarettes to their ban based on new evidence regarding health risks associated with them, including respiratory disease.

Anna Zolotor

Anna Zolotor is a Trinity senior and recruitment chair for The Chronicle's 118th volume. She was previously news editor for Volume 117.


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