JUUL Lawsuit | Lung Damage
E-cigarette use has become increasingly common, especially among youths. Although there are many e-cigarette makers, the most popular by far is a company named JUUL, whose e-cigarette and vape devices are used by the majority of people who buy e-cigarette products.
More studies are coming out highlighting the dangerous chemicals that are found in JUUL devices, putting JUUL children at risk of severe health problems.
JUUL marketed its products as being safe and targeted youths in its marketing plan, telling students JUUL was safer than traditional cigarettes. Many youths started vaping without understanding the potential JUUL health risks associated with doing so, believing the company that the product was entirely safe.
What many teenagers do not realize is that they are still ingesting nicotine and other dangerous chemicals when they use a JUUL product, putting themselves in jeopardy of suffering JUUL side effects.
What is JUUL?
E-cigarettes are commonly referred to by a variety of names including e-cigs, vaporizers, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
The vape device heats an e-liquid, which turns it into a vapor that the user inhales through a mouthpiece.
The JUUL e-cigarette is a vaping device that uses refill pods also sold by JUUL. A study of JUUL refill pods showed that they contained nicotine benzoate salt, propylene glycol, and glycerol.
According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the nicotine concentration in JUUL e-liquids is higher than in non-JUUL e-liquids, at a level of 3% compared with 0.3-2.4%.
JUUL makes up 75% of the US vaping market, and a large portion of the vaping market includes youths. Various health officials have joined forces in declaring that teenage use of e-cigarettes is an epidemic, with JUUL the main cause of that epidemic.
According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use among high school students increased by almost 40% in the past year, mainly fueled by an increase in e-cigarette use.
More than 20% of teenagers reported e-cigarette use in 2018, a 78% increase from 2017, while almost 5% of middle schoolers also reported using an e-cigarette in 2018.
A 2016 study released by the Centers for Disease Control found that among students who used e-cigarettes in 2016, the most common reasons for doing so were that the devices were used by a friend or family member (39%), the availability of flavors (such as candy, fruit, mint, and chocolate) (31%), and the belief that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes (17%).
What Are JUUL Chemicals?
Many people believe that e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine are safe to use, but the other chemicals found in these products can also be incredibly harmful and can cause severe lung disease.
The chemicals in JUUL devices, which include nicotine, come with side effects that can cause lung problems, asthma, nicotine overdose, and other severe, permanent health problems.
A recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggested that JUUL e-cigarettes had the same level of nicotine as a traditional cigarette.
Meanwhile, a separate study published in the journal, Tobacco Control, found that the nicotine content in e-cigarette flavoring equals that found in up to two packs of traditional cigarettes.
However, it is not only the nicotine in e-cigarettes that is causing concern. E-cigarettes and vaping devices contain a mix of chemicals, and the consequences of those chemicals reacting can cause health problems.
Furthermore, the study found that four of eight JUUL flavors included menthol, which has been linked to increased nicotine cravings.
Among the potentially toxic substances identified in e-cigarette products that could cause JUUL health effects, a 2018 review by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine found the following:
- Propylene glycol: toxic to cells
- Vegetable glycerin: toxic to cells
- Acetaldehyde, acrolein, formaldehyde (produced by e-cigarettes): linked to lung disease and cardiovascular disease
- Diacetyl: bronchiolitis obliterans (also known as “popcorn lung”)
Does JUUL Cause Cancer?
There have not currently been long-term studies on the effects of using an e-cigarette or on the risk of JUUL cancer. However, JUULs and e-cigarette devices contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, which have been linked to cancer.
JUUL Marketing to Kids
The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released a supplemental memo in which it outlined its findings that JUUL targeted children as young as eight years old.
The company reportedly had a division known within its ranks as “Youth Prevention and Education” that was set up to allow JUUL to present programming to students in exchange for payments to the schools.
At this programming, teachers and parents were kept out of the room while JUUL presenters spent their time marketing to kids, including giving a demonstration on how to use the product.
JUUL also reportedly targeted youths through out-of-school programs, including summer camps. In one case, JUUL paid $134,000 to set up a 5-week summer camp through a charter school.
Youths involved in the camp were between grades 3 and 12.
Furthermore, the subcommittee found that JUUL recruited online “influencers” to help market their product to teens. These influencers were in Los Angeles and New York and had a minimum of 30,000 followers.
At least one lawmaker, Rep. Ayana Pressley of Massachusetts, compared JUUL’s tactics to those of Big Tobacco, noting that the situation is “extremely disturbing.”
These youth marketing tactics are similar to those used by Big Tobacco when they marketed their cigarettes to kids beginning in the 1940s, up until the time cigarette companies were prohibited from advertising.
This comes as no surprise, as JUUL’s majority shareholder is Altria, previously known as Philip Morris.
JUUL products also come in enticing flavors, such as a variety of fruity or sweet tastes. Those flavors taste better, mask the chemical taste, increase the risk of a chemical reaction that causes additional toxic substances and minimizes the smell associated with smoking.
Unfortunately for kids, the marketing and flavoring used by JUUL appear to be working, as a 2018 study conducted by the Truth Initiative found that as much as 63 percent of JUUL users did not know that JUUL vape products always contain nicotine.
Regulators Find JUUL Violated FDA Regulations
Following the two days of testimony about JUUL and its actions, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to the FDA asking it to take “appropriate enforcement action” against the e-cigarette maker.
The letter was sent after the committee determined that JUUL appeared to have violated FDA regulations by making unapproved claims that e-cigarettes help users stop smoking and are safer than tobacco cigarettes.
The FDA has sent a warning letter to JUUL arguing that the device maker violated federal laws by marketing its vaping devices as safer and healthier than tobacco cigarettes.
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said JUUL ignored the law and marketed its devices to youths despite a lack of evidence that the e-cigarettes are safer. If it does not comply with the FDA, JUUL could face fines or have its products seized.
Included in the FDA’s list of statements that violate the law is a sentence on the JUUL website noting that the devices were designed to give smokers satisfaction without the combustion and harm, and a presentation to students in which a JUUL representative called the devices “much safer than cigarettes” and “totally safe.” The FDA has not so far verified such claims about e-cigarettes.
In addition to sending a warning letter to JUUL, FDA officials confirmed they are investigating whether the e-cigarette maker withheld documents or materials from the FDA that were then sent to Congress for its hearing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said in a statement that youth, young adults, pregnant women and adults who do not smoke should not use e-cigarettes.
A federal judge, meanwhile, has ruled the FDA can only give e-cigarette makers until May 2020 to submit evidence that their products benefit public health.
Vape Pens Linked to Teen Lung Injuries
The eight were all given oxygen masks and steroids to help their lungs recover. All eight teens had used vape pens, and although it is not clear what they inhaled through the pens, whatever they took damaged their lungs.
Another three teens were also admitted to Wisconsin hospitals following the initial eight victims. Meanwhile, in Illinois, three youths were admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory problems after they used vaping products.
Doctors said the young people were otherwise normally healthy, but in some cases now required ventilators. None of the tests came back positive for an infection.
American Lung Association Concerned About Vaping
In its statement on e-cigarettes and vaping devices, the Lung Association noted that e-cigarettes currently sold on the market have not undergone systematic review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and therefore have not been proven safe for human lungs.
Signs Your Child is a JUUL Kid
According to at least one report, youths who are addicted to e-cigarette substances might behave more like patients who have substance-abuse disorders than like patients who are addicted to nicotine.
Among some of the signs that your child is a JUUL teen:
- Vape pods or JUUL pods found in the home
- Increased difficulty breathing, including coughing, wheezing, and asthma
- Stealing to support the habit
- Sudden outbursts or changes in mood
It is important to know that e-cigarette design allows teens to ingest much higher nicotine levels than they would through traditional cigarettes. This can increase the chances of youths becoming addicted to the products, and also make it more difficult to find support when they want to quit.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.
It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works.”
The scary thing about youth vaping is that the human brain is still developing until age 25, and nicotine addiction can actually cause changes to a child’s brain.
As we learned during prior litigation we handled against Big Tobacco, the brain has nicotine receptors, and when chronic nicotine is introduced into the brain, permanent changes can occur.
At Cutter Law, we are fierce advocates for public safety, especially when it comes to companies that purposely market unsafe or harmful products to youths.
We have seen all too often the consequences of youths using products that they do not fully understand.
Unfortunately, teenagers can suffer a great deal of damage to their lungs as the result of using a JUUL vape device, and their young brains are susceptible to nicotine addiction.
If you are a JUUL teenager with no previous history of heavy tobacco use, and JUUL was your first nicotine product that you used heavily, and you have symptoms of addiction and/or any lung or respiratory problems, you need an attorney willing to fight for justice for you.
If you are a parent whose teenager used JUUL devices with no previous heavy use of tobacco products, it is vital that you speak to a highly experienced e-cigarette attorney today.
Attorneys at Cutter Law are investigating JUUL lawsuits on behalf of teenagers who have experienced addiction and lung or respiratory damage. It is unacceptable that JUUL targeted teenagers and students in its marketing, and convinced them that the vape devices are safe for use.
We have experience filing lawsuits against e-cigarette companies, having successfully obtained a $1 million settlement for a client whose e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket.
We also have experience litigating and trying cases against Big Tobacco companies like Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, and Lorillard.
Our attorneys were members of the trial teams that received millions of dollars in jury verdicts in tobacco litigation on behalf of Florida cigarette smokers afflicted with lung cancer, COPD, and other cancers and pulmonary diseases.
Those smokers all became addicted when they started smoking cigarettes at a young age, when Big Tobacco targeted youth and advertised extensively, before the 1988 Surgeon General warning.
Contact us today for a no-obligation case consultation regarding a possible JUUL vapor lawsuit. One of our highly skilled attorneys is available to answer your questions.