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1998 Tobacco settlement could be roadmap for new e-cigarette lawsuits

Tobacco settlement state-by-state
Posted at 8:23 AM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 08:23:47-04

A decades old agreement between states and major tobacco producers is now acting as a roadmap for new settlements with e-cigarette companies.

Florida was included in the original 1998 settlement with tobacco companies, and now, North Carolina is taking the next steps, and addressing claims that Juul and other e-cigarette companies targeted teens in their marketing.

According to the North Carolina settlement, Juul will now pay the state $40 million over the course of six years, and has agreed to have their products placed only behind the counter in stores, to use third-party age verification systems, and to slightly change their advertisement methods. The money North Carolina gets in the settlement will go toward smoking and vaping prevention programs, and e-cigarette research.

A similar agreement was reached in the 1998 settlement, which resulted in big tobacco companies paying 46 states and 5 U.S. territories $27.5 billion annually. But a new report from The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found that in the 2021 fiscal year, only 2.4% of the $27 billion dollars states received from the settlement was actually spent on tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Thats an 11% decrease from the year before, and less than 1/5 of the total funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Florida has collected $1.5 billion in state tobacco revenue this fiscal year, and only $73.4 million is earmarked for tobacco prevention. That's only 37% of the amount the CDC recommended the state spend on prevention.

In comparison, Floridians spend about $8.6 billion annually in healthcare costs directly related to smoking, and the state and federal tax burden on Floridians due to smoking-related government spending is about $844 per household.

Lee County is one of at least 8 Florida school districts that are currently involved in a nation-wide lawsuit against Juul.