Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, along with 32 other attorneys general, announced on Tuesday a proposed $438.5 million settlement with JUUL stemming from a two-year investigation into the company's marketing practices.

Investigation revealed that the company was targeting a young demographic under the age of 21 with its advertising on social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

A study of JUUL's Twitter revealed that 45% of its followers were between the ages of 13 and 17 and only 20% of followers were 21 and over, which is the legal age to purchase tobacco and vape products in Ohio.

The investigation also revealed the company sold e-cigarettes in flavors appealing to younger demographics, including mint and various fruit flavors, and that it manipulated the product's chemical composition to make the vapor less harsh on the throats of younger users.

Finally, the investigation revealed that JUUL falsely implied that its products contained a lower nicotine concentration than it does while actually containing more nicotine than most other e-cigarettes.

JUUL has since ended its social media marketing campaigns and now only sells pods in tobacco and menthol flavors

"No nicotine marketing to kids. It was wrong when it was Joe Camel, and it's wrong when it's JUUL's 'Miint' and 'Fruut' flavors and their influencer-led targeting," Yost said.

The settlement will force JUUL to comply with strict injunctive requirements, severely limiting its marketing and sales practices.

The company has agreed to stop:

- Marketing to youths

- Depicting anyone under age 35 in its advertising

- Using cartoons in its marketing

- Paying for product placement

- Selling brand-name merchandise

- Selling flavors not approved by the FDA

- Allowing access to websites without age verification

- Making representations about nicotine not approved by the FDA

- Making misleading representations about nicotine content

- Participating in sponsorships or naming-rights deals

- Advertising in outlets unless 85% of audience is adults

- Advertising on billboards, public transportation, and social media (other than testimonials on social media by individuals over age 35 with no health claims)

- Using paid influencers

- Using direct-to-consumer ads unless age verified

- Offering free samples

The proposed $438.5 million would be paid out over six to 10 years, with the amounts paid increasing the longer the company takes to make the payments. 

If JUUL extends the payment period to 10 years, the final settlement could total up to $476.6 million. 

Previously, the FDA ordered JUUL to stop selling its products in stores back in June of 2022 but has since decided to let JUUL products stay on store shelves while the agency conducts an additional review.