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The manufacturer of JUUL e-cigarettes agreed to pay $40 million in a settlement to the state of North Carolina for targeting minors with exploitive marketing tactics on social media. Local health departments have reported cases of lung injuries linked to the use of e-cigarettes. In some cases, people have died as a result of these injuries arising from vaping.

JUUL fueled the next generation of nicotine addictions by influencing high schoolers on social media. Placing a modern twist on Big Tobacco’s marketing playbook, the e-cigarette company hired social media influencers to reach millions of youth on digital platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

JUUL representatives went into schools and gave presentations that painted vaping devices as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. The company offered flavors that were appealing to young people like mango and mint. The high concentration of nicotine was masked by the flavor and unknowingly creates a nicotine addiction. The slim design makes the e-cigarette easy to conceal. Schools have had to use their limited funds to install vaping detectors and create preventative programs to educate students on the negative health effects of vaping to combat the newest nicotine epidemic.

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