What the Settlement with JUUL Could Mean: A Parent’s Guide in New Hampshire

Mar 14, 2024

– Authored by: Monica Gallant, Director of Prevention Services at the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley

A Note from the Author: As the Director of Prevention Services at the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, I bring my expertise as a Certified Prevention Specialist with a Masters in Prevention Science to the forefront of protecting our youth’s health and well-being. My passion lies not just in addressing the challenges our children face, but also in emphasizing the critical role parents and community members play in supporting them throughout their development. We are in this together, and everyone has a role to play.

This blog reflects on the growing concerns around teen substance use, particularly the surge in e-cigarette use. It looks at JUUL’s marketing towards children, and the ensuing legal response, which resulted in a substantial settlement by the company. By examining the JUUL settlement’s impact and exploring ways to reduce teen vaping, we suggest how this funding can be used to foster increased community participation, better support for parents, and more effective communication strategies to address the issue of youth vaping.

In recent years, concerns about teen substance use has become a growing issue for parents and caregivers across the United States. One major reason for this concern has been the rise of e-cigarettes, with JUUL being a key player in the market. Let’s delve into the settlement and the actions taken by the New Hampshire (NH) Attorney General General John M. Formella, while exploring what it means for parents and caregivers concerned about the impacts of youth vaping.

The Rise of Juul and Teen Substance Use

disposable vape with smoke ghost coming outJUUL, a popular e-cigarette brand, gained widespread popularity among teenagers due to its discreet design and appealing flavors. Since its launch, scientists have discovered harmful ingredients in JUUL, including ultrafine particles, flavorings linked to lung disease, and volatile organic compounds like benzene and toxic metals – all known neurotoxins. These findings have prompted schools and parents to confront the challenge of curbing teen vaping, both at home and at school.

Recent surveys, including the Monitoring the Future Survey (2023) and the NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2021), provide alarming insights. About a third of high school youth report having used electronic vape products. Why is this so alarming? Because youth who vape are more likely to experience substance use disorders as an adult.

The Legal Landscape: Juul’s Settlement

In response to the growing concerns, JUUL faced legal action from various states, including NH. In the fall of 2022, Attorney General Formella announced an agreement intended to punish JUUL for willfully engaging in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, and the role it played in fueling the teen vaping epidemic. In a landmark settlement, the company agreed to pay billions of dollars and implement significant changes to its marketing practices.

New Hampshire’s Financial Opportunity

Following the JUUL settlement, NH secured over $8.4 million to be awarded over the next six to ten years. Imagine what a small state like NH could do to make a measurable impact with these funds, especially given JUUL’s new advertising restrictions. While this windfall offers a chance for positive change, how it will be allocated remains uncertain. In 1998 the state encountered a similar situation with the Master Tobacco Settlement Funds, with criticism that prevention and cessation initiatives were not always prioritized, leaving existing programs heavily dependent on federal support.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As the JUUL settlement marks the potential for significant progress in combating teen substance use, particularly vaping, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers to stay actively engaged in their teens’ lives.

adult and teen talking in kitchenWhile the win is encouraging, the lack of information on how these funds will be used raises concerns. These investments could include crafting educational campaigns that alert teenagers to vaping’s dangers, training for parents and caregivers to better discuss substance use with their teens, kick-starting initiatives that encourage community support, providing counseling and help for those already affected by substance use, and supporting research to find more efficient prevention tactics. By focusing on these areas, we can take a big step forward in protecting our teens from the allure of vaping and other substances, emphasizing the power of staying informed and working together as a community.

Additionally, parents and caregivers can also play an active role in supporting initiatives at their child’s school, such as alternatives to suspension when students are caught vaping on school grounds. More school districts are acknowledging the failings of suspending youth for vaping. When offered alternatives to suspension, young people are more likely to get the help they need to address their dependence on nicotine and embrace healthy choices for their future.


From The Partnership: A Call to Action

announcement icon in navyWe encourage our readers to stay informed about the efforts to use the Juul settlement funds in New Hampshire and get engaged in their local community substance use prevention coalitions. For those looking to learn more, explore the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website. There, you’ll find extensive resources, including up-to-date vaping data by county, science-based information, and tools designed to support parenting in the era of vaping. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials will also continue to monitor this important public health issue and provide relevant updates.

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