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16 e-cigarette retailers accused of underage sales settle with Chicago for $550,000

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says e-cigarette use is unsafe for kids, teens and young adults.

A person smoking a Juul e-cigarette
Sixteen retailers have agreed to pay $550,000 to Chicago to settle lawsuits accusing the stores of selling e-cigarette to minors.
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Sixteen e-cigarette retailers will pay nearly $550,000 in fines for illegally selling nicotine products to minors in Chicago, the city said Friday.

The retailers were caught by sting operations run by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection earlier this year.

Some retailers have changed how they market nicotine products, added health warnings and even stopped selling in Chicago, the city said.

The settlements total $549,800, money that will go into the city’s corporate fund.

“The agreements reached with these retailers will ensure that Chicago’s youth will be unable to purchase products,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

“[Youth] will no longer be targeted by harmful advertisements of big tobacco companies seeking to hook their newest customers.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns e-cigarette use — including the massively popular Juul — is unsafe for kids, teens and young adults.

E-cigarette’s popularity among youth is “an emerging problem,” Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita said during a City Council testimony in April 2018.

Under then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel in November, Chicago filed a lawsuit against nine online e-cigarette retailers for selling nicotine products to minors.

Chicago hit 27 more retailers with lawsuits in April after they allegedly marketed or sold nicotine products to underage customers.

“We are determined to prevent Chicago’s youth from getting their hands on tobacco products of any type,” said Rosa Escareno, commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

“These lawsuits have been successful in sending a message that we will not tolerate unlawful business practices and deceptive marketing that targets young people, while fundamentally changing how these retailers do business in Chicago.”