Attorney General James Announces Over $7.4 Million to the Finger Lakes Region to Combat Youth Vaping Epidemic

Funds from $112.7 Million Settlement with JUUL for its Role in the Youth Vaping Epidemic
Money Will Help Young New Yorkers Quit Vaping and Support Anti-Vaping Programs

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced more than $7.4 million for the Finger Lakes region from a historic $462 million multistate settlement that she secured from JUUL Labs Inc. (JUUL) for its role in the youth vaping epidemic that led to a dangerous rise in underage e-cigarette use nationwide. New York state will receive a total of $112.7 million through this settlement, which Attorney General James will distribute to every county, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), and the five largest cities in the state to support programs that will help reduce and prevent underage vaping.

“JUUL preyed on young people across our state by putting addictive products into their hands and convincing them that they were harmless,” said Attorney General James. “Their actions put a generation of children at risk, fueling physical and mental health problems among young New Yorkers. As a result of my office’s historic settlement with JUUL, leaders in the Finger Lakes region will now have over $7.4 million to invest in anti-vaping efforts to curb the youth vaping epidemic.”


Attorney General Letitia James delivers over $7.4 million to the Finger Lakes region that her office secured from JUUL to combat youth vaping. 

The funds will be split between the Rochester City School District, and counties and BOCES in the Finger Lakes region:


  • Genesee County will receive $366,507.72
  • Livingston County will receive $345,540.78
  • Monroe County will receive $2,293,677.54
  • Ontario County will receive $530,263.71
  • Orleans County will receive $275,118.86
  • Seneca County will receive $236,510.67
  • Wayne County will receive $481,411.55
  • Yates County will receive $225,004.21

School Districts / BOCES

  • Rochester City School District will receive $412,822.79
  • Genesee Valley BOCES will receive $330,959.99
  • Monroe 1 BOCES will receive $693,247.82
  • Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES will receive $492,990.85
  • Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES will receive $551,361.10

After JUUL launched in 2015, e-cigarette use among New York high school students skyrocketed. By 2019, the proliferation of vaping led to a national outbreak of severe vaping-related illnesses, with more than 2,500 hospitalizations. In October 2019, a 17-year-old male from the Bronx died due to a vaping-related illness, making him the first reported vaping-related fatality in New York, and the youngest vaping-related fatality in the United States.

In November 2019, Attorney General James sued JUUL for its deceptive and misleading marketing that glamorized vaping and targeted young people. In April 2023, Attorney General James secured the largest multistate agreement with JUUL and its former directors and executives for their role in fueling the youth vaping epidemic. JUUL misled consumers about the nicotine content of its products, misrepresented the safety and therapeutic value of its products by stating that they were safer than cigarettes, and failed to prevent minors from purchasing its products in stores across the country.

The settlement funds will be used for evidence-based measures to combat underage vaping and e-cigarette addiction. Counties and BOCES must dedicate the settlement funds they receive to programs in five categories:

  • Public education campaigns to prevent e-cigarette use among young people.
  • Community, school, and university-based anti-vaping programs.
  • Vaping cessation services in communities, schools, and colleges.
  • Enforcement of vaping laws and regulations.
  • Public health research into e-cigarette use among young people and the effectiveness of anti-vaping programs. 
  • In addition to paying New York $112.7 million, the settlement required JUUL to make significant changes to its sales and marketing tactics, including:
  • Refraining from any marketing that targets youth, including using anyone under the age of 35 in promotional material or funding, operating youth education/prevention campaigns, or sponsoring school related activities.
  • Limiting the amount of retail and online purchases an individual can make.
  • Performing regular retail compliance checks at five percent of New York’s retail stores that sell JUUL’s products for at least four years.
  • Treating synthetic nicotine as nicotine.
  • Refraining from providing free or nominally priced JUUL pods as samples to consumers,
  • Excluding product placement in virtual reality systems.
  • Increasing funding to a document depository by up to $5 million and adding millions of relevant documents to the depository to inform the public on how JUUL created a public health crisis.

“We’ve all watched as vaping and the use of e-cigarettes have become an epidemic in our community and across the entire country—a crisis that now impacts children as young as 10 or 11 years old,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “I’m grateful to Attorney General James for taking action to address this issue head on and for her fierce leadership and passionate advocacy on behalf of all New Yorkers. I look forward to our continued work together.”

“Monroe County is dedicated to the health and well-being of our young residents, and this settlement represents a significant step forward in our fight against the youth vaping epidemic,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “As the first county in the state to spearhead a vape and e-cigarette recycling program, we are committed to innovative solutions that address this crisis. These funds will enable us to implement comprehensive education and prevention programs, ensuring that our children are protected from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes. We are grateful to Attorney General James for her relentless efforts and for securing this vital support for our community.”

“According to the latest research, most teens who vape don’t want to and their attempts to quit have not been successful,” said Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans. “That means they’re navigating some of the most challenging and consequential years of their lives with the added burden of a deadly and debilitating habit that they wish they had never developed in the first place. I applaud Attorney General James for reaching this landmark settlement with JUUL and securing funds to develop resources to help our children fulfill their desire to quit vaping and prevent others from starting.”

“The rapid rise in vaping among teenagers is a serious public health crisis; we are seeing alarming rates of use and addiction despite warnings about adverse health effects,” said State Senator Samra G. Brouk. “I applaud Attorney General Letitia James for her work to hold companies accountable for deceptive marketing practices and harmful sales tactics, and to expand public health prevention and treatment efforts to curb this epidemic. By taking decisive action now, we can safeguard the health of children.”

“E-cigarette companies took advantage of our youth and misled the public on the harmful effects of vaping,” said State Senator Jeremy Cooney. “I thank the Attorney General for working hard to hold these companies accountable, for delivering millions of dollars to the Greater Rochester region to help with prevention, and for her continued efforts to keep our children healthy and safe.”

“Thank you Attorney General James for achieving this landmark win against JUUL, and fighting back against the health epidemic caused by e-cigarettes and vaping,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “This settlement will enable Monroe County to prevent future such crises by ensuring that our young people and their families have tools and resources at their disposal. I also commend BOCES for their partnership to educate our young people and stop JUUL from continuing to negatively harm our families.”

“Nicotine is addictive and harmful to adolescents regardless of its delivery method, and New York must act to ensure it’s properly regulating new and available products,” said Assemblymember Sarah Clark. “As e-cigarettes become more popular among youth in our state, it is vital that we take efforts to prevent the formation of this habit and help those who are already using these products quit. As a member of the Assembly and as the mother of three teenagers, I am grateful for Attorney General James' efforts to help schools, health care providers, and families while also holding companies accountable.”

“At a time when youth are facing unprecedented mental health challenges, companies like JUUL are taking advantage of those challenges and profiting off of our kids,” said Assemblymember Jen Lunsford. “On behalf of the children and families of Monroe County, I am grateful to the Attorney General for her efforts to hold JUUL accountable and fund solutions for those impacted by the epidemic.”

“One in five high school students in New York State uses e-cigarettes, making it by far the most used tobacco product amongst our youth,” said Assemblymember Demond Meeks. “Aggressive marketing strategies from companies like JUUL have exposed middle and high school students to harmful tobacco product advertising. These alarming trends directly impact the developing minds of our students and children, leading to struggles with learning, shortened attention spans, emotional and mental health disorders, and placing them at a higher risk of addiction to more harmful drugs. It is our responsibility as both parents and elected officials to deliver the resources and support that will keep our children and families healthy and informed. I am thankful to Attorney General Letitia James for this substantial public health investment and her commitment to the health and safety of our community.”

“The dangers of vaping have become all-too clear, including the negative consequences on our health and environment. Many young people in our community are now dealing with the ill effects of this public health crisis,” said Monroe County Legislature President Yversha Román. “I am proud to stand with Attorney General James and her commitment to the well-being of our young people. This settlement that the Attorney General’s Office was able to secure will give communities like Monroe County vital resources needed to help address the youth vaping epidemic we are facing.”

“Our mission extends beyond education in the classroom; it’s about ensuring the long-term well-being of our students,” said Dan White, Monroe 1 BOCES District Superintendent. “With the support from this settlement, we can provide resources to reduce and prevent vaping, while also promoting a culture of health and wellness.”

“As the District Superintendent for the Wayne-Finger Lakes Region, the 25 W-FL Superintendents and I stand united in supporting public health initiatives that protect and educate our children to be able to live a healthy life; The children of today are the future of tomorrow and they need our advocacy, protection, and support against the known and unknown serious health risks caused by harmful vape substances,” said Lynne Rutnik, Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES Superintendent. “Vaping has become too easy to access for our youth. Vaping has the very real potential to cause a serious health crisis for our communities if protections and policies are not immediately put into place. The time is now to take action to keep vaping out of the hands of our youth.”

“The Vape Disposal Program and Policy is a critical tool for Monroe County, as we seek to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life of our community,” said Hannah Weltzer, MPH, Health Promotions Manager at the American Lung Association. “The American Lung Association applauds the collaborative efforts undertaken by parents, students, and educators to limit the risks associated with e-cigarette and tobacco use, including environmental harm. We look forward to continuing our work with our dynamic partners to expand this program across the state and nation to communities that want to do more to protect our families and safeguard the environment from the many harms of tobacco use.”

“Investing in our students’ health and social-emotional well-being is essential, especially when combating the dangers associated with youth vaping,” said Dr. Carmine Peluso, Superintendent of the Rochester City School District. “This funding will allow us to safeguard students from the harmful effects of e-cigarette use.  We are grateful to the Attorney General and all involved for their dedication to protecting the future of our students.”

"We are grateful for the critical support and resources provided by Attorney General Letitia James through this historic settlement,” said Cynthia Elliott, Rochester City School District Board President. “The funds allocated to our district will allow us to develop comprehensive programs aimed at combating the youth vaping epidemic. By investing in education and prevention initiatives, we are taking significant steps towards protecting the health and well-being of our students. This settlement marks a significant moment in our ongoing efforts to protect our children from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and ensure a healthier future for all. We look forward to working closely with our partners in government and the community to implement programs and make a lasting impact.”

“Today marks an extraordinary day for the youth in Monroe County,” said Victoria Beatham, Program Director/DFC Project Coordinator, Uplift Irondequoit. “Since the rise of electronic cigarettes, we have seen a major impact on youth as young as elementary school. Many middle and high school students in our community have talked openly about how disruptive vaping has been in their day to day lives. Prevention needs to be as adaptable as Big Tobacco has been, and we thank Attorney General James for her work in securing these funds to advance this effort.”

“Vaping continues to be a major public health issue for our community,” said Holly Ann Russell, MD, family medicine physician and Medical Director at the Center for Community Health & Prevention (CCHP) within the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The commitment and funding support announced today will make a tremendous difference in reaching youth with impactful health education and prevention messaging. It will also help expand programming such as our Vape Escape intervention which assists teens on their journey to cut back or quit vaping and improve their overall health. I want to thank Attorney General James for her leadership in bringing this legal action to combat the youth vaping epidemic.” 

“I want to thank Attorney General James for stopping JUUL’s misleading marketing tactics and securing funding that will help protect young people across our region from the dangers of vaping,” said Susan Gasparino, MD, pediatrician at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital and Director of Child and Adolescent Programming at CCHP, facilitates the Vape Escape program. “By focusing our efforts early on teen education and adolescent cessation services, we are helping to reduce their lifetime risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, cancer and more. Through educational programming, we are empowering young people and providing them the tools they need to make decisions about their health."

“I know that having a safe, judgement-free environment in schools to support teenagers that want to stop vaping could make a huge difference in reducing teenage vaping and reliance on nicotine,” said John Collins, an impacted student. “I was able to quit nicotine because of the support of my parents and the Vape Escape program, led by Dr. Gasparino. I would like to thank Attorney General Letitia James for securing funds to support programs that will help other teenagers escape the vape.”

The settlement was led by Senior Advisor and Special Counsel M. Umair Khan, Assistant Attorneys General Hailey DeKraker and Noah Popp, and Healthcare Deputy Bureau Chief Leslieann Cachola. The settlement was also brought about by the work of Assistant Attorneys General Sarah Millings, Michael Reisman, and Abigail Kasowitz; Consumer Frauds Bureau Chief Jane Azia; Senior Assistant Solicitor General Dennis Fan, Deputy Solicitor General Judith Vale; Special Assistant Attorney General Emily Auletta; former Deputy Director of Research and Analytics Megan Thorsfeldt and Data Scientist Jasmine McAllister; Chief Scientist Jodi Feld, Information Technology Manager Corey Nugent, Information Technology Specialists Hewson Chen and Paige Podolny; E-Discovery Document Review Manager Carol Cheng; Civil Recoveries Section Chief Martin Mooney; and former Special Counsel Morenike Fajana, former Healthcare Bureau Chief Lisa Landau, and former Section Chief Amy Schallop. The Division for Social Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and the Division for Economic Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo. Both the Division for Economic Justice and the Division for Social Justice are overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.