Altria and Juul Face Trial Over Teen Vaping Accusations

Altria and Juul Face Trial Over Teen Vaping Accusations
Altria Group faces trial in a lawsuit accusing it and Juul Labs of fueling a teen vaping epidemic, as San Francisco's school district seeks compensation for costs incurred.

Tobacco giant Altria Group Inc is set to face trial on Monday in a lawsuit by San Francisco's public school district, which accuses the company and e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc of fueling a teen vaping epidemic, reports Reuters. The district claims that teachers and staff have had to take extreme measures to address the growing number of students using e-cigarettes on school grounds and is seeking to hold Altria responsible for the cost of addressing the issue.


Altria, which held a 35% stake in Juul from 2018 until earlier this year, faces thousands of similar cases from individuals, local government entities, and states. The San Francisco school district's case was selected as a bellwether or test case by U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco, who is presiding over much of the litigation. Next week's trial before Orrick will mark the second time one of those cases goes before a jury.


The school district sued both Juul and Altria in 2019, accusing Juul of deliberately targeting underage consumers with sweet flavors and eye-catching social media campaigns, and Altria of aiding Juul by allowing it to use its sales force and including Juul advertisements in its Marlboro cigarette products. Juul has since settled the school district's lawsuit and most of the similar claims against it, paying over $1 billion to 48 states and territories and $1.7 billion to individuals and local government entities.


Last month, Altria announced that it had given up its investment in Juul in exchange for some of Juul's intellectual property. As of December, its share of Juul was valued at $250 million, down from $12.8 billion in 2018. Juul pulled most of its e-cigarette flavors from the market in 2019 and halted much of its advertising under pressure from regulators.


Previously on April 17, the US state of Minnesota reached a settlement agreement with Juul and Altria, with the settlement amount yet to be disclosed. In March, Altria announced the acquisition of US vape manufacturer NJoy, in a bid to phase out the impacts of Juul Labs and retain Altria's stronghold in the US, a business insider says. 


*The content of this article is written after the extraction, compilation and integration of multiple information for exchange and learning purposes. The copyright of the summary information still belongs to the original article and its author. If any infringement is found, please contact us to delete it.