Eagle County will see about $135,000 from lawsuit against Juul Labs, other firms

Settlement includes changes in marketing, distribution

Eagle County was among the primary jurisdictions in a multi-party lawsuit against Juul Labs and other manufacturers of electronic cigarettes and similar devices.
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Eagle County won’t see much money from a recent lawsuit settlement against makers of vaping devices. But the money isn’t really the point.

The Eagle County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday heard a report about the settlement from County Attorney Bryan Treu.

“We kind of joined for solidarity,” Treu said. Eagle County was selected as one of 12 “bellwether”  — or primary — entities in the suit. That put the county in the company of jurisdictions ranging from Natrona County, Wyoming, to King County, Washington. That county in the Pacific Northwest includes the city of Seattle.

Treu told the commissioners that the defendants — Juul Labs, Altria and Phillip-Morris were accused of being responsible for marketing electronic cigarettes and similar devices to young people. That effort reversed “years of effort” combatting tobacco use among young people.

The non-monetary result of the suit is an agreement by the companies to change the marketing and distribution of the devices, as well as beefing up age verification requirements. In Colorado, those devices cannot be sold to people younger than 21. In addition, Juul Labs is no longer selling flavored products.

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Monetary relief to plaintiffs is based on the number of young people in a given jurisdiction. That means the county will receive roughly $135,000.

But commissioners said the other elements of the suit will be important to Eagle County in the months and years to come.

While the efforts to curb youth tobacco use aren’t done, Commissioner Matt Scherr said the settlement “was a big one.”

Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry praised the team from the county attorney’s office as well as the Eagle County Department of Public and Environmental Health.

Heath Harmon, the director of the county’s Public Health and Environment department, complimented his team, and particularly Mandy Miller, for their work on the case.

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