BILLINGS - Montana will receive $6.1 million from e-cigarette maker JUUL as the state's portion of a $438 million nationwide settlement, according to Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen's office.
Nationwide, 34 states will receive payments as part of the settlement, and JUUL agreed to refrain from several strategies including youth marketing, funding education, depicting persons under the age of 35 and marketing, as well as the use of cartoons and free samples.
The two-year, multi-state investigation found that JUUL improperly appealed to youth in several ways, including launch parties and social media. As part of the settlement, JUUL has agreed to stop marketing to minors.
"JUUL's irresponsible marketing campaigns pushed young Montanans toward vaping and nicotine addiction," Knudsen said in a news release. "My office will continue to hold companies accountable that deceive or mislead consumers."
Knudsen says e-cigarettes are illegal to sell to kids and unhealthy. In June, the FDA issued a nationwide ban on all JUUL products.
Managers and workers at shops in Billings would not speak with MTN News on camera, but they say the settlement will not affect them or the industry.
The manager of Vintage Vapor, Nathan Oschner, advises parents to keep vape material away from children, just as they would with tobacco, marijuana and alcohol.
He pointed to a previous interview with MTN News in June. "It's unfortunate that kids are getting their hands on them, you know, and we do our best here to prevent that. 100%," Oschner said then.
Knudsen says the company also misled by stating the product was a smoking cessation device without FDA approval.