(Reuters) – The Chicago mayor’s office said on Friday a $23.8 million settlement has been reached with Juul Labs Inc over claims that the e-cigarette maker deceptively marketed its products and for selling vaping products to underage users.
The once red-hot vaping company is currently facing thousands of lawsuits filed across the United States over claims on its marketing practices and for contributing to a rising tobacco use amongst youth.
In the settlement, Chicago said Juul has denied and continues to deny any wrongdoing and liability in connection with the design, manufacture, production, advertisement, marketing, distribution, sale, use, and performance of its products.
A Juul spokesman said in an emailed statement that the settlement with Chicago is another step in the company’s ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past and transition adult smokers away from combustible cigarettes while combating underage use of its products.
According to the settlement, the company has agreed to pay the city $2.8 million within 30 days of the execution of the agreement.
Chicago would receive an additional $21 million payment later this year under the current schedule and may potentially receive up to $750,000 additional, court-awarded payments, the Chicago mayor’s office said.
Altria Group Inc, which had a stake in Juul valued at $12.8 billion in 2018, on Monday exchanged its investment in Juul, last valued at $250 million, for some of the vaping company’s heated tobacco intellectual property.
Altria said it would buy startup NJOY Holdings Inc for about $2.75 billion in cash, betting that NJOY will prove to be an easier way to tap the e-cigarette category since six of the company’s products have received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)