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News you may not have heard

On April 11, 2023, California Attorney General Bonta announced a $462 million multi-state settlement agreement with electronic cigarette maker, JUUL Labs, Inc., that was negotiated by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and six other states. “Of that $462 million settlement amount, California will receive a total of $175.8 million. The money will help California fund research, education and enforcement efforts related to e-cigarettes.”

"This settlement holds JUUL accountable for knowingly targeting our kids to hook them on flavored nicotine vaping products simply to boost their bottom line." JUUL will also be prohibited from any further targeting of youths in its advertising and promotion.

Earlier, I had written about teen addictions of gambling and porn, facilitated by the Internet. But nicotine addiction is even worse. While vaping (e-cigarettes) is less damaging than smoking regular cigarettes, it is still a serious health hazard for adults as well as minors. And when it includes nicotine, it’s just as deadly. According to the CDC, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

The tobacco companies have deep pockets and will continue to seek new ways to addict their next generation of victims. For instance, we may have thought we had stifled on-screen smoking. But on-screen smoking in PG-13 movies has been steadily increasing. And a recent study found that “youth with high exposure to popular streaming and TV shows containing tobacco images were three times more likely to start vaping compared to their peers with no exposure. Thus, reducing kids’ exposure to onscreen tobacco use will significantly reduce youth initiation of tobacco use” (Truth Initiative, 1/14/22).

We really need to act on this. To see how you can help, search on “Smokefree Media” to access their website.

John H. Terrell


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