An Overview of JUUL and E-Cigarette Litigation
E-cigarette use has increased at a startling rate in the United States, particularly among middle and high school students. E-cigarettes, including those made by JUUL and other manufacturers, have been criticized for being developed, packaged and marketed in ways that are particularly appealing to minors. In the wake of these accusations, and incidents of death and illness related to e-cigarette use, action has been taken to minimize their negative effect, particularly on American youth. Here, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg discuss the latest developments on JUUL and e-cigarette litigation.
Use of E-Cigarettes by Minors Has Rapidly Increased in Recent Years
The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey indicated that e-cigarette use among middle schoolers increased by 48% and among high schoolers by 78%, with a total of 3.6 million children admitting to e-cigarette use, also known as “vaping.” When asked why they choose to vape, one of the top reasons among minors was because e-cigarettes come in flavors that mask the unpleasant taste of tobacco. Companies like JUUL offer flavors that include mint, mango, creme and cucumber, among many others. Vaping is also considered a more discrete way to smoke, as it minimizes unpleasant odors and the slim, sleek design of e-cigarettes can be easily concealed. Because vaping uses water vapor to deliver nicotine to the user, coughing, choking and burning effects are also minimized compared to traditional cigarettes.
Dangerous Effects of E-Cigarette Use Have Been Documented
Despite the perspective among many users of e-cigarettes, including minors, that vaping is safer than cigarettes, there are many risks to vaping that have been well-documented. E-cigarettes contain several 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 (VOCs); and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead.
Because vaping limits the negative side effects of cigarettes, including coughing, choking and burning, those who use e-cigarettes are able to intake more nicotine at any given time. A single JUUL pod contains the equivalent of 20 cigarettes of nicotine, and JUUL pods also deliver nicotine 2.7 times faster than other e-cigarettes. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical derived from tobacco that can cause poisoning or death in high doses.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) have recently released reports of lung injuries and death in e-cigarette users across the United States. While many of the reported cases have involved THC-based vaping products, the FDA and CDC recommend that all use of e-cigarettes be halted until further research and testing can be conducted.
Legal Action Has Been Taken Against E-Cigarette Manufacturers, Including JUUL
In response to these dangers and the growing trend of vaping in young populations, states across the country are seeking to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. It has also been reported that President Trump’s administration is considering an executive order banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. In response to mounting pressure, JUUL has pulled all fruit-flavored e-cigarette pods from the U.S. market, and the company will halt print, broadcast and digital marketing of their e-cigarettes until further notice.
Despite this, lawsuits continue to move forward against JUUL and other e-cigarette companies, with plaintiffs claiming that e-cigarette producers use deceptive marketing targeted specifically at youth and vulnerable communities, leading to addiction and disease. JUUL is also facing a wrongful death suit by the mother of an 18-year-old who suffered multiple lung and breathing complications before dying in his sleep. The boy was a regular user of JUUL products and would suffer “severe mood swings if he did not have access” to vaping products.
E-Cigarette Users and Their Loved Ones are Encouraged to Speak to a Product Liability Attorney
It has been made clear that vaping poses a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of e-cigarette users, particularly those under the age of 18. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg stand against deceptive and predatory marketing of e-cigarette producers who seek to encourage addiction and substance abuse in minors. If you or a loved one has suffered harmful effects after using e-cigarettes, you are encouraged to speak to a product liability attorney to learn more about your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg today to learn more.