JUUL Lawsuit Sparks Awareness of the Dangers of E-Cigarettes

juul lawsuit

Recently, a case was filed by TorHoerman Law on behalf of a 19-year-old young man who quickly became addicted to vaping, smoking multiple JUUL “pods” per day.

The 85-page Illinois JUUL e-cigarette lawsuit alleges that by age 22, the young man suffered multiple seizures, cognitive impairments, balance problems, mood disorder, permanent brain damage, and back pain from several spinal taps. The doctors for the Illinois plaintiff allegedly diagnosed the cause of his seizures as his JUUL addiction.

Notwithstanding JUUL’s representations that vaping is a good way to quit smoking, the young man is addicted to nicotine as a result of vaping.

The Illinois JUUL e-cigarette lawsuit was filed against JUUL Labs, Pax Labs, Inc., Altria Group, Inc. and Phillip Morris, Inc. JUUL is the manufacturer of the JUUL e-cigarette and originally operated as Pax Labs. Altria is a 35% owner of JUUL, and their subsidiary, Phillip Morris, is the largest cigarette company in the U.S. Altria and JUUL co-market and distribute the JUUL e-cigarette.

However, the Illinois case is the tip of the iceberg. JUUL, Phillip Morris, and others allegedly plotted to addict a new generation of young people to nicotine. Our e-cigarette lawyers believe this litigation is going to explode into a repeat of the tobacco litigation.

Contrary to Popular Belief, E-cigarettes Are Both Harmful and Addictive

According to the American Stroke Association, using  e-cigarettes increases one’s odds of having a stroke, heart attack, or coronary heart disease. Researchers found that compared with non-users, e-cigarette users had:

  • 71 percent higher risk of stroke
  • 59 percent higher risk of heart attack or angina
  • 40 percent higher risk of heart disease
  • Double the rate of cigarette smoking

These risks increase dramatically for teens and young adults.

In a public service publication entitled, Know the Risks: E-Cigarettes & Young People, the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that e-cigarettes are not safe for anyone under age 26. The Surgeon General states that “[t]he nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive.”

The American Heart Association cautions that e-cigarettes “threaten to get more people addicted to nicotine, they should not be marketed directly to children, and they may pose threats that we don’t yet fully understand.”

AHA president, Elliott Antman, M.D., warned that “[w]e must protect the youth of our country from becoming the next generation of Americans addicted to deadly tobacco products.”

In my opinion, that is exactly what the manufacturers and marketers of e-cigarettes intended to do – addict another generation of young people to their nicotine products.

According to the Surgeon General, e-cigarettes pose risks beyond nicotine addiction, reporting that “[b]esides nicotine, e-cigarettes contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead

The CDC Urges Caution While They Investigate E-cigarette Related Deaths

On 9/6/2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people should not use vaping devices pending its investigation into vaping-related pulmonary illnesses and deaths. The CDC is investigating 450 cases of vaping-related illnesses, which occurred in 33 states.

“While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products. People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms,” the CDC wrote in a news release.

The announcement comes on the same day that Indiana health officials confirmed a death from vaping-related respiratory illness. This is the third reported death this month and the CDC is currently investigating a fourth death.

Indiana health officials are investigating 30 cases of severe lung injury linked to vaping. The majority of those cases involve people ages 16-29. Health officials are asking anyone who experiences lung illnesses related to vaping to report them on the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal.

E-cigarettes Are Being Marketed to Our Children

Most e-cigarettes use liquid nicotine and contain flavors that are designed to appeal to children, including bubble gum, caramel, cotton candy, fruit and chocolate. Many brands even use packaging resembling candy wrappers.

We do not fully understand the risks associated with e-cigarette flavorants. While many of these flavors were once tested as food additives, there are no long-term studies of the safety of vaporizing these liquids and inhaling them directly into the lungs.

And while the advertising of regular cigarettes has been banned since 1971, e-cigarette advertising is unregulated. Today, e-cigarettes and vape pens are advertised heavily to millions of young people.

RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: E-Cigarette Explosion Breaks Teen’s Jaw and Teeth

The Cigarette Industry Involvement With Vaping

The Illinois complaint alleges that JUUL conspired with their cigarette industry partners to downplay the risks of e-cigarettes and misrepresent the benefits of nicotine to young people. They even went so far as to claim that the nicotine in JUUL vape pens helps with concentration.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that:

[J]ust as JUUL launched, cigarette company expert witness Sally Satel published an article in Forbes Magazine touting the benefits of nicotine, claiming it aids in concentration- and stating that it is harmless.” In another article, she lauded the efforts by JUUL and others to develop nicotine-related products, and cast any doubters as hysterical and creating ‘panic.’ (Complaint, par. 74).

Numerous other social media pieces and publications echoed this same message – that the public health community was overreacting to e-cigarettes. JUUL took the public position that addiction to vaping was no more harmful than addiction to coffee.

The cigarette industry is alleged to have provided marketing services and paid spokespersons to JUUL to spread the false message that vaping is safe. The fact is, according to the CDC, a JUUL pod delivers approximately twice as much nicotine to the consumer than a pack of cigarettes. Although a pack of cigarettes contains more nicotine, the JUUL pod is a much more efficient delivery system, so the consumer is exposed to more nicotine. JUUL knows this but represents otherwise.

Phelan Petty Represents Victims of E-cigarettes

At Phelan Petty, we represent victims of e-cigarette addiction, e-cigarette lung disease, and e-cigarette battery explosions. If you or someone you love has been injured by an e-cigarette, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation by one of our e-cigarette product liability lawyers.

Call today at 866-249-3164 or complete our online contact form.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

About Michael Phelan

Michael Phelan has been consistently recognized for his excellence as a trial lawyer, his commitment to research, his outstanding communication skills, and his sincerity and dedication. As one of his valued clients said, “Mike puts his heart into it."