JUUL Teen Addiction Lawsuit
Teenagers and youths are increasingly using JUUL e-cigarette devices and as a result, are at risk of becoming addicted to nicotine at higher rates than those who use tobacco cigarettes
This JUUL nicotine addiction puts young users in jeopardy of suffering life-altering side effects, including respiratory problems, stroke, and nicotine toxicity.
Some users have experienced seizures after using e-cigarette devices. The youth JUUL epidemic is just the latest in a string of issues surrounding e-cigarette use by consumers.
Despite arguing that the company was surprised by children using JUUL at such high levels, JUUL Labs knowingly marketed its devices to students, making them believe JUUL e-cigs were safe, healthy and fun to use.
JUUL purposely used youth marketing strategies similar to those used by Big Tobacco to encourage young people to try the devices, which has led to an unacceptably high risk of nicotine addiction in youths.
The situation is severe enough that the American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that a new generation is at risk of being addicted to nicotine thanks to the use of e-cigarettes.
What is a JUUL E-cigarette Device?
A JUUL e-cigarette device is a small, battery-operated device that allows the user to inhale a vapor (often called an e-liquid).
The e-liquid is contained in a cartridge, and often has vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol mixed with flavorings.
Some e-cigs contain nicotine, but all JUUL devices do. A JUUL starter kit or other e-cigarette starter kit often comes with batteries, cartridges and a charger.
JUUL Teen Use
The Centers for Disease Control note that e-cigarette use, including JUUL use, has skyrocketed in recent years.
In 2018, e-cigarette use among US high school students was almost 21%, and middle school use was almost 5%. Various governmental agencies have referred to the use of JUUL devices by American school aged children as an “epidemic.”
JUUL Nicotine Addiction
According to reports, JUUL pods and other e-cigarette vape devices deliver much higher levels of nicotine than tobacco cigarettes contain. Teens who consumer one JUUL pod a day obtain approximately the same amount of nicotine as they would smoking a pack of cigarettes.
Among the reasons teens use e-cigs more frequently than they may smoke cigarettes is that e-cigarettes:
- Do not cause as much throat irritation
- Come in a variety of sweet flavors
- Do not give off the same smell as tobacco cigarettes, lessening the stigma attached with using them
- Are often used by peers, making some youths more likely to use them
- Often look like a USB drive and are small, making them easy to disguise or hide
- Have thin vapor plumes, which is easy to hide when being exhaled
- Are less expensive than tobacco cigarettes
Experts argue that teen JUUL users are susceptible to addiction because their brains are not fully developed and they do not have the same control over their impulses as adults.
Furthermore, when they do become addicted they have a more difficult time breaking the addiction.
Because they are exposed to such high levels of nicotine, JUUL teen users are at risk of nicotine toxicity, respiratory problems, lung disease, and other severe JUUL side effects.
Signs of a Youth JUUL Addiction
If you are concerned your child has developed a JUUL nicotine addiction, there are some signs you can watch for:
- An unusually sweet odor
- Irritability or mood swings
- JUUL pods (look similar to USB drives) or e-cigarette paraphernalia
- Bloodshot eyes
- Unexplained difficulty breathing (such as coughing, wheezing or asthma)
- Stealing to support the habit
JUUL pods are made with carcinogenic flavors, which are designed to make the vapor taste better. These flavors may contain carcinogenic chemicals or may be made from chemicals that, when mixed, combine to create carcinogenic chemicals linked to cancers and other health problems.
FDA JUUL Review
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced JUUL and other e-cigarette makers will have until May 2020 to submit applications for market approval. Currently, JUUL and other e-cigarette makers have sold their devices without FDA approval. Initially, the companies were given until 2022 to submit applications that argue why they should be allowed to stay on the market but recent increases in youth e-cigarette use prompted the FDA to shorten that deadline.
JUUL Addiction Lawsuit
At least one JUUL addiction lawsuit has already been filed by a 22-year-old man who says he started using JUUL as a teenager after seeing the vape company’s ads for its e-cigarette device.
The man, Maxwell Berger, said he became addicted in his senior year of high school and soon began going through two JUUL pods per day. In 2017, Berger suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke.
He underwent three surgeries on his brain, sustained paralysis on his left side and a loss of vision, and spent more than 100 days in the hospital.
In his lawsuit, Berger said he began vaping because JUUL’s marketing made it seem healthy and cool, and his friends already did it. He alleges that it only took weeks for him to develop an addiction.
The JUUL vape lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court for San Francisco County and accuses JUUL Labs of negligence in marketing and selling its e-cigarette devices to people under 26 years of age.
In a response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson told Forbes that they do not want youth to ever try their product, a claim that is highly questionable given that JUUL has been found to have specifically marketed its products to students.
JUUL Marketing to Kids
In testimony given to the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Robert K. Jackler, MD, referred to the ways JUUL marketing to kids occurred, including stylized parties with music entertainment at which young people were given free JUUL pods and nicotine pods.
Photos of young people using JUUL devices were posted on social media channels and in VICE magazine, a youth media company partially owned by Disney.
JUUL also targeted youths by hiring influencers and affiliates on social media channels and compensating users for positive reviews.
Included in the JUUL kid targeting campaign were presentations in which JUUL spokespeople met directly with students without any teachers or school administrators present, to talk about JUUL being a healthy and safe device.
The program was run by a division within JUUL Labs called “Youth Prevention and Education.” The presentation even involved a demonstration showing students how to use a JUUL device.
JUUL Health Risks
Thanks to the combination of chemicals, small particles, and nicotine, teenage JUUL users are at risk of serious side effects, including respiratory distress, stroke, and, potentially, cancer.
In 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was investigating reports of 127 cases where e-cigarette users experienced a seizure.
The e-cigarette seizures involved users from youth to adult and those who were first-time to those who were experienced users. Large doses of nicotine can cause seizures, dizziness, tremors, nausea and, in extreme cases, death.
Because youths’ brains are still developing, nicotine addiction can cause serious, permanent changes to a young user’s brain. These changes may make it more difficult for the user to quit using vape devices.
JUUL and Tobacco Cigarettes
In December 2018, Altria (which owns Marlboro) invested almost $13 billion for a 35% stake in JUUL.
JUUL’s marketing closely mimics that of Marlboro, while Altria has a reciprocal agreement with Philip Morris International, in which Philip Morris can market Altria’s e-cigarette products around the world.
JUUL’s marketing strategies closely resemble those of Big Tobacco, including targeting youths and releasing biased research.
JUUL E-Cigarette Attorneys
At Cutter Law, we have a proven track record of fighting against Big Tobacco, including litigating cases against Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, and Lorillard.
Our highly skilled attorneys were part of the trial teams that obtained millions of dollars in jury verdicts in tobacco lawsuits on behalf of cigarette smokers in Florida who began smoking while young and developed lung cancer, COPD, and pulmonary diseases.
We have fought to protect youths against Big Tobacco marketing for years and will continue to do so against JUUL.
We are fiercely dedicated to public safety and have seen too often the long-term consequences of youths trusting large companies that are only interested in profits.
If you are a teenager with no previous history of heavy tobacco use and JUUL was your first introduction to heavy tobacco exposure, and you have signs of JUUL addiction, you need an attorney with the skills and resources to fight for you.
We are currently investigating JUUL lawsuits on behalf of teenagers who developed JUUL e-cigarette addiction and are committed to holding JUUL Labs accountable for marketing its devices to youths.
Contact us today for a no-obligation case consultation regarding a possible JUUL lawsuit. We are available to answer your questions and advise you of your rights.