JUUL agrees to pay $40 million in North Carolina settlement

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 11:40 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The e-cigarette maker JUUL just settled a $40 million lawsuit brought by the State of North Carolina.

Court documents claimed JUUL targeted under aged children by producing flavored pods. There are hundreds of similar cases against the company that are still pending.

But not all of those who sell e-cigarettes think there was nefarious intent by JUUL.

“You’re just making it difficult to have an alternative to cigarettes,” Sean Goldsman said.

Sean Goldsman and his brother Michael just opened The Spot Smoke Shop off Woodlawn Road a couple of months ago. Their family has a combined fifty years of experience in the industry.

“My Mom would be in the basement drilling vases and me and my little brother would be popping little rubber grommets in at like seven years old and he was five.” says Goldsman.

They’ve pretty much seen it all, but today’s announcement was a surprise even for them.

“They’re blaming this on kids, now everyone is going to have to support for that reason.” said Michael Goldsman, Co-Owner of The Spot Smoke Shop

“There’s a youth epidemic occurring.”

North Carolina Attorney Josh Stein says JUUL targeted kids by producing flavored pods like mint, bubble gum and crème brulee. He says under-aged smokers were drawn to the product - and hopes to curb their interest by taking away the flavored cartridges from store shelves.

The settlement not only removes the flavored pods, but it states the company can’t advertise near kids or target them in any way. It also comes with a $40-million bill for JUUL.

The owners of the Spot smoke shop say they make sure they’re in compliance by checking ID’s on everyone who walks in the door.

“Something we make sure we always do is ID,” the smoke shop owner said.

But they do have a problem when it comes to who was targeted by the lawsuit and say there’s a double-standard. They say it’s not just e-cigarettes that are flavored.

“You look at the alcohol industry. There can be flavored seltzer, there can be flavored 40 percent flavored alcohol, vodka,” Goldsman told WBTV.

While they don’t sell the JUUL pods at The Spot, the owners say it’s pretty easy to imagine many of their competitors are going to take a hit on lost revenue when those pods become unavailable.

“Now it’s an extra thing that we have to worry about. Making sure the vapes we have on our shelves are legal, and if they’re not legal, now we just lost money by having to throw them away.” explained Goldsman.

The $40-million settlement will go to families youth vapors affected by e-cigarettes and will be paid out over six years.

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