Juul, vaping, and e-cigarettes have been in the news lately as the federal government has imposed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes while regulators examine cases of people suffering from what appear to be vaping-related lung disease.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a Pennsylvania woman filed a federal lawsuit claiming that her use of a Juul e-cigarette triggered two seizures, the second of which was debilitating. The plaintiff, Kimberly Mays, suffered 30-minute long seizures in June and July of 2019. Both occurred 30 minutes after she used a Juul e-cigarette, and both required that she be hospitalized.
According to NPR, at least 530 people in 38 states have suffered from a vaping-related lung disease, and nine people have died.
Health experts are also concerned about long-term heart issues caused by vaping.
To date, health experts have not definitively linked a specific lung disease to vaping and e-cigarette use.
Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that the percentage of teenagers vaping has doubled in the last two years, with almost 25% of high school students using e-cigarettes in the past month.
Some have declared vaping a “public health crisis.”
Juul and Other E-Cigarette Manufacturers the Target of Federal Probes
Critics claim that Juul deliberately targeted young people through its marketing of e-cigarettes in mango, cucumber, and mint flavors.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has joined the fray, ordering Juul and 5 other vaping companies to turn over information about how e-cigarettes are marketed.
This comes as politicians and health authorities crackdown on Juul and other vaping companies in an effort to address the explosion of underage vaping among U.S. teenagers.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have been 1,080 lung injuries as a result of e-cigarettes in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Eighteen deaths have been confirmed in 15 states.
The CDC reports that THC products play a role. Most of the people affected reported using products that contain THC, although some people, like Ms. Mays, reported using products that only contain nicotine.
Individual Lawsuits Filed Against Juul and Other E-cigarette Manufacturers
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not currently pursuing any actions based on individual use of e-cigarettes or vaping products. Instead, they are focusing on suppliers. But some people, like Ms. Mays in Pennsylvania, are taking matters into their own hands by filing lawsuits against Juul and other e-cigarette manufacturers.
According the Ms. Mays’ lawsuit, Juul is marketed as an “alternative to cigarettes” which, she claims, gives the impression that they are not harmful like traditional cigarettes and are safe to use. Ms. Mays further claims that Juul did not warn her that e-cigarettes contain more nicotine than advertised, that they could lead to a seizure, or that they could permanently alter her brain.
Ms. Mays is a former smoker who took up vaping in an effort to quit smoking, but found that she used the e-cigarette as much or more than traditional cigarettes.
Similar lawsuits have been filed across the U.S. and will likely be combined into multi-district litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which has jurisdiction because Juul’s corporate headquarters are in San Francisco.
Multi-district litigation is used when numerous federal lawsuits in different jurisdictions have similar allegations. There are currently more than 50 lawsuits that allege Juul Labs improperly marketed its e-cigarettes to teens.
A Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you care about was injured as a result of vaping, e-cigarette use, or using a Juul or similar product, a lawyer can help.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career at a large firm in Cleveland where he defended manufacturers accused of marketing harmful products. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured as a result of faulty or harmful products.
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