A former JUUL executive accused the company of knowingly shipping tainted nicotine cartridges. Now, a House subcommittee has demanded that JUUL Labs Inc hand over documents linked to any potentially contaminated pods sold by the e-cigarette maker.
The allegations come as another former worker claimed JUUL knew teens were becoming addicted to the devices at an alarming rate but failed to include a failsafe that would limit the nicotine dosage a user received.
Executive Claims JUUL Knew About Tainted Pods
Siddharth Breja filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against JUUL alleging he was fired for opposing company practices, which included shipping a million contaminated pods and not including expiration dates on JUUL products.
According to Breja’s lawsuit, he discovered in March 2019 that nicotine batches in the company’s mint pods were contaminated.
Approximately one million contaminated JUUL pods were shipped and the company did not issue a recall or make a public announcement about the pods.
Breja says he became aware of the contaminated pods during an executive team meeting on March 12, 2019. Around 250,000 mint refill kits (around one million pods) were reportedly contaminated with unknown material and shipped to retailers.
He was told to charge Alternative Ingredients—the e-liquid supplier—$7 million for the contaminated batches but the company allowed the pods to still be shipped and sold.
Breja further alleges that he was aware in Feb. 2019 that JUUL wanted to resell pods that were almost a year old without including either an expiration date or a date of manufacture on the packaging.
House Committee Demands JUUL Documents
Following Breja’s lawsuit, the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy sent JUUL a letter demanding all documents related to any allegedly contaminated pods from its supplier Alternative Ingredients Inc., or from any other sources.
The letter was sent by the subcommittee’s chairperson Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi and noted “disturbing reports” about JUUL potentially knowingly selling around one million contaminated pods.
Both JUUL and Alternative Ingredients received letters demanding they turn over documents.
JUUL Worker Alleges Company Knew About Youth Addiction
Meanwhile, a different former JUUL worker claims the vape device maker knew in 2015 that its nicotine was potent enough to hook young users in a very short time.
Additionally, the engineers working for JUUL developed a way to limit the dosage, but the e-cigarette company did not implement the failsafe.
Initially, users did not flock to JUUL either because the nicotine was not strong enough or it had too harsh a taste. By adding organic acids to the nicotine, JUUL products combined a smooth flavor with a strong dose.
In 2014, JUUL applied for a patent that would disable the vape device if the nicotine dose exceeded a certain level. That device was never developed, however.
Critics—including tobacco researchers and pediatricians—say JUUL was attractive to teenagers who otherwise would not have smoked cigarettes. The company said it did not mean to attract youths to use the vape devices, but it has come under fire for targeting underage users in its marketing.
Additionally, a former manager in JUUL’s sales and distribution on the US East Coast said the company marketed to store owners by emphasizing the device’s addictive power.
JUUL Executives Fought About Youth Appeal
According to Reuters, when it became clear youth JUUL use was reaching excessive levels, some executives within the company called for action to limit sales to youth.
Others fought against such actions. Two tobacco experts say they also warned JUUL regarding their concerns about teen JUUL use, contradicting company executives who say the youth vaping epidemic surprised them.
JUUL Vaping Attorneys
JUUL lawsuits are now being filed by young adults and youths who say they became addicted to JUUL vape devices. In addition to lawsuits, JUUL faces a possible criminal investigation in the state of California, a criminal probe from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has received warnings from the FDA to stop marketing its vaping devices as safer than traditional cigarettes.
If you are a JUUL youth with no history of heavy tobacco or nicotine use and you have symptoms of nicotine addiction following your JUUL use, or you are the parent of such a youth, we urge you to speak with one of our highly experienced attorneys today.
At Cutter Law, we are deeply committed to public health and safety. We believe firmly in holding companies accountable for putting profits ahead of consumers.
Our attorneys are highly experienced at fighting against Big Tobacco companies and e-cigarette companies and have the skills and resources to aggressively represent you.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your JUUL lawsuit claim. Our attorneys are available for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation, advise you of your rights and help you get justice for the harm done to you.