Juul spent more than $50,000 to have a medical journal run an entire issue of pro-vaping studies funded by the company

woman vaping juul
A woman exhales a puff of vapor from a Juul e-cigarette.

  • Juul paid the American Journal of Health Behavior $51,000 to publish 11 company-funded studies.
  • Three of the journals editorial board members resigned in protest, the New York Times reported.
  • The expense is dwarfed by the tens of millions the company has spent on lawsuits and lobbying.
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Ecigarette-maker Juul paid $51,000 to buy out an entire issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior and make it publicly available, the New York Times reported.

The AJHB’s May/June issue published 11 company-funded studies that promote the health benefits of Juul devices in helping smokers quit traditional tobacco products.

“Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) represent a significant opportunity to realize tobacco harm reduction at the population level around the world,” the authors write in an introduction to the journal.

Juul is the most widely used ENDS system in the country, but its popularity is a major reason why it is under such close scrutiny. The brand became nearly a household name – and incredibly popular with teenagers – from its aggressive marketing of nicotine delivery systems with candy-like flavoring and a convenient pod format.

Regulators at the Food and Drug Administration are weighing a decision over whether the company will be allowed to continue selling its products in the US, but major heath organizations have called on the agency to reject Juul’s application.

In its conflict of interest statement at the beginning of the issue, the journal discloses that Saul Shiffman, who is authored on all but one of the articles, is an exclusive consultant to Juul Labs, and that Juul employee Erik Augustson oversaw all of the behavioral research in the study.

According to the Times, three editorial board members resigned from the journal in protest.

Various estimates put the AJHB’s “impact factor” at roughly 1.5, which means that one or two articles from the prior two years are cited by other researchers. The Journal of the American Medical Association has an impact factor of 45.

Juul’s five-figure buyout of the journal issue is part of a public influence campaign that the Center for Responsive Politics tallied at more than $3.9 million in 2020 alone.

That amount is further dwarfed by a legal settlement the company reached with the state of North Carolina in which it will pay $40 million to avoid a jury trial over the question of whether it illegally marketed nicotine products to teens.

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E-cigarette maker Juul agreed to overhaul its marketing – including only using models older than 35 in ads – to crack down on teen vaping

Juul
  • Juul agreed to pay North Carolina a $40 million settlement.
  • As part of the settlement, Juul will make major changes to how it markets and sells its e-cigarettes.
  • The company will no longer use models under 35-years-old on ads and will use mystery shoppers to find scofflaw retailers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

North Carolina reached a $40 million settlement with e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, the state’s attorney general said Monday.

It’s the first state to successfully settle a lawsuit against Juul. The settlement comes after Juul came under fire for “its role in spiking teen use and dependence on e-cigarettes,” the attorney general’s office said in a press release.

“For years, JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette,” AG Josh Stein said in a press release. “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.”

A lawsuit against Juul was first filed back in 2019 for “designing, marketing, and selling its e-cigarettes” to be more appealing to teens and misrepresenting nicotine’s harmful effects in its products.

As part of the settlement, Juul has agreed not to use anyone in its marketing videos under 35. Retail stores selling Juul products in North Carolina will also receive monthly checks from secret shoppers.

Juul also agreed to other conditions, according to the settlement agreement, including:

  • Avoiding marketing that appeals to people under 21.
  • Not advertising near schools or sponsoring sporting events and concerts.
  • Ensuring Juul products are sold behind store counters, requiring employee assistance.
  • Not making claims about the health effects of Juul use versus that of combustible cigarettes.
  • Requiring third-party sellers an independent age verification system.
  • Receive FDA authorization for any new flavors or nicotine content levels.

More lawsuits against the e-cigarette company could come in the future. According to CNBC, 39 states have launched investigations against JUUL.

“This win will go a long way in keeping JUUL products out of kids’ hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains,” AG Stein said.

A Juul spokesperson told the New York Times: “This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers.”

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