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Minnesota will get $60.5M in settlement with e-cigarette maker Juul, tobacco giant Altria

State of Minnesota settles in Juul lawsuit
State of Minnesota settles in Juul lawsuit 01:03

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Attorney General Keith Ellison says the state is set to receive a payout of more than $60 million dollars over seven years following the settlement that the state reached in its lawsuit against Juul Labs and tobacco giant Altria.

"This is a notice to all companies looking to addict kids If you try to do this in Minnesota, not only are we going to sue you, we're going to take you to court and hold you accountable and you're going to pay," Ellison said.

The settlement requires JUUL to pay more than one-third of the settlement within 30 days, and 60% within the first year. Ellison expects the money to go towards tobacco mitigation and prevention.

The state's lawsuit was the first of thousands of cases against the e-cigarette maker to reach trial but the terms had to be kept confidential for 30 days until the formal papers were filed publicly with the court.

Juul has faced thousands of lawsuits nationwide but most have settled, including dozens with other states and U.S. territories. The largest settlement came last month when it was announced that Juul Labs will pay $462 million to six states and the District of Columbia to settle lawsuits related to its marketing tactics. As part of that deal, Juul pledged not to market its products to anyone under the age of 35 and to limit the amount customers can purchase in retail stores and online.

RELATED: Minnesota AG Keith Ellison announces settlement in $100M lawsuit against Juul, Altria

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said ahead of the state's trial that he was seeking more than $100 million in damages.

"After three weeks of trial highlighting and bringing into the public record the actions that JUUL and Altria took that contributed to the youth vaping epidemic, we reached a settlement in the best interest of Minnesotans," Ellison said when he announced the settlement last month.

Juul said then that it would work with the state to finalize the details.

"We have now settled with 48 states and territories, providing over $1 billion to participating states to further combat underage use and develop cessation programs," the company said in a statement at the time. "This is in addition to our global resolution of the U.S. private litigation that covers more than 5,000 cases brought by approximately 10,000 plaintiffs."

Attorneys for Minnesota argued that Juul unlawfully targeted young people with vaping products to get a new generation addicted to nicotine. Juul attorneys countered that its purpose was to convert adult smokers of combustible cigarettes to a less-dangerous product — not to lure kids.

Minnesota, which won a landmark $7.1 billion settlement with the tobacco industry in 1998, was the first state to take Juul to trial. It filed its lawsuit in 2019 and added Altria, which formerly owned a minority stake in Juul, as a co-defendant in 2020. Altria completed its divestiture in March and said it effectively lost its $12.8 billion investment.

Washington, D.C.-based Juul Labs launched in 2015 on the popularity of flavors like mango, mint, fruit medley and creme brulee. Teenagers fueled its rise, and some became addicted to Juul's high-nicotine pods. Amid a backlash, the company dropped all U.S. advertising and discontinued most of its flavors in 2019, losing popularity with teens. Juul's share of the now multibillion-dollar market has fallen to about 33% from a high of 75% in 2018.

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