JUUL & Other E-Cigarette Lawsuits

Active Case

As a parent or a loved one of someone who has started using an e-cigarette, you hope they don’t get addicted or suffer health issues. While JUUL and other e-cigarettes have been marketed as “safe” and a better alternative to smoking cigarettes, we are now learning from the medical community that use of these products may result in potentially devastating health effects, including heart and lung problems, seizure and stroke. What makes these products even more dangerous is that JUUL’s advertising strategies allegedly targeted teen users through catchy social media ads and sweet and fruity flavors without informing consumers that JUUL also contains nicotine. JUUL is the top-selling e-cigarette manufacturer in the U.S., although there are many other manufacturers of e-cigarettes and flavors (or “e-juices”), as well as chemical manufacturers, that may be contributing to the growing health concerns.

October 17, 2019

Case Update:  JUUL SUSPENDS U.S. SALES OF SEVERAL FRUIT AND CANDY E-CIGARETTE FLAVORS

Amid concerns that several of its sweet flavors were a draw for teens, JUUL announced Oct. 17, 2019 that it would cease all U.S. sales of several flavors, including mango, crème, fruit and cucumber pending FDA review. Read more.

Modern e-cigarettes were first introduced to consumers in 2005. As a result, the long-term health effects of the devices are not yet known. Serious health risks from using JUUL or other e-cigarettes however, can occur quickly and in some instances immediately after contact or use.

A 2019 study by Stanford’s School of Medicine of six popular e-liquid flavors (fruit, tobacco, sweet tobacco with caramel and vanilla, sweet butterscotch, cinnamon, and menthol) found that the liquids may increase risk of cardiovascular disease when inhaled.  

Poison control centers throughout the country have also managed more than 20,000 exposure cases between 2013 and 2019 that involved e-cigarettes, with 3,139 reports made in 2018 alone. As of July 31, the centers received 2,439 exposure cases about e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine in 2019. Serious cases of exposure can lead to seizures, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure, the American Association of Poison Control Centers says.

E-cigarette health risks may include:

  • Cardiovascular disease and other heart problems
  • Heart attack
  • Lung or respiratory problems
  • Nicotine poisoning
  • Seizure
  • Stroke

Contact an attorney

Motley Rice attorneys are reviewing claims of lung diseases seizures, cardiovascular disease and other serious health effects in young people who used JUUL or other e-cigarettes., If you or a loved one required medical treatment, you may have a claim. Please contact us by completing this webform or calling 1.800.768.4026 to discuss your potential claim.

Our experience

Motley Rice attorneys have experience representing people harmed by tobacco products, including serving as lead council for more than two dozen State Attorneys General resulting in the historic $246 billion Master Settlement Agreement with four of the U.S.’s largest tobacco producers.

Motley Rice continues to represent people harmed by tobacco products in ongoing litigation, as well as workers who developed “popcorn lung” and other severe lung diseases caused by flavoring chemicals found in e-cigarettes and other products.

E-cigarette health risks

Reporting an apparent uptick in seizures associated with e-cigarette use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in April 2019 that it is reviewing what it described as an “important and potentially serious health issue.” The announcement came amid growing concerns that smoking electronic cigarettes, commonly referred to as vaping, is far from harmless despite being portrayed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.

Misconceptions that e-cigarettes replace smoke and tar with a harmless flavored water vapor have contributed to the popularity of these devices in recent years. In reality, the CDC reports that aerosol produced by e-cigarettes and inhaled by consumers may contain a number of dangerous substances, including:

  • Nicotine
  • Ultrafine particles
  • Toxic flavoring chemicals such as diacetyl that are linked to severe lung diseases
  • Cancer-causing chemicals
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead

JUUL and e-cigarette background  

JUUL e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that are shaped like a USB flash drive. They work by heating a nicotine liquid, producing an aerosol that is inhaled. As JUUL is the top-selling e-cigarette brand in the country, “Juuling” has grown into a common colloquialism for vaping or using e-cigarettes.

A single JUUL pod contains the nicotine equivalent of 20 regular cigarettes according to the manufacturer, but in a highly concentrated and potentially toxic liquid form. Both children and adults have been poisoned by e-liquids since they were first introduced, whether by breathing, swallowing or otherwise absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes, according to the CDC.

JUUL and other e-cigarette manufacturers claim their products are solely for adults. However, common e-cigarette flavors, such as mango, vanilla, peanut butter and jelly, cotton candy, and bubble bum have made e-cigarettes attractive to teens and young children, according to a Surgeon General advisory report.   

In 2018, 3.6 million middle and high school students in the U.S. reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 4.9% of middle school students and 20.8% of high school students, the CDC reports

Despite already being on the market, vaping devices have not yet been approved by the FDA. In June 2019, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban e-cigarettes until the devices are adequately tested and approved by the FDA. The FDA has given manufacturers until 2022 to submit applications for approval.

The FDA issued a warning on Sept. 9, 2019 to JUUL Labs Inc., for marketing its products as safer than traditional cigarettes. The warning, which requested additional information from the company regarding its marketing practices to youth and other consumers, came within weeks of the FDA’s announcement that it is reviewing at least 215 cases of severe respiratory diseases and pulmonary illness from 25 states as part of its investigation into possible health risks associated with e-cigarettes. Read more.

JUUL also announced in September 2019 that it replaced its CEO Kevin Burns with K.C. Crosthwaite, a former executive for tobacco company Altria Group (the parent company of Philip Morris USA, Inc.). The change in leadership came within months of San Francisco’s ordinance passing, and amid swirling controversy and a rising death toll allegedly linked to e-cigarette products. At the time of the announcement, JUUL also said that it was in the process of rolling out a new marketing strategy, including suspending TV, print and digital ads. The company claimed that it was committed to complying with any new federal policies that may be issued to address e-cigarette concerns.  

Exploding e-cigarette batteries

In addition to reviewing the safety of e-cigarettes, our attorneys are also accepting claims of injuries caused by the lithium-ion batteries used for e-cigarettes, which have the potential to explode. Explosions can occur without warning while the device is charging, during use when a person is “vaping,” or even when a defective spare battery is not connected to the device. Reported explosions have often involved certain box shaped, or “box mod,” devices that are popular among users for their longer battery lives.

Related vaping lawsuit news:

NPR (October 17, 2019) Juul Suspends Sales of Flavored Vapes And Signs Settlement To Stop Marketing To Youth
The News York Times (October 10, 2019) Vaping Illnesses Climb Upward, Nearing 1,300 With 29 Deaths
The Washington Post (October 10, 2019) What we know about the mysterious vaping-linked illness and deaths
CNN (September 17, 2019) A 7th person has died from vaping-related causes. The CDC is stepping up its probe of e-cigarette illnesses
NBC News (September 11, 2019) Trump administration plans to ban sale of flavored electronic cigarettes
MUSC (September 10, 2019) Charleston area sees vaping-related lung injury
WDAF-TV (September 10, 2019) Kansas health officials confirm first death from vaping related lung disease
NBC News (September 8, 2019) New York governor urges halt to all vaping amid lung disease outbreak
CBS News (September 6, 2019) Three more deaths and at least 450 illnesses linked to vaping nationwide
CBS News (August 14, 2019) New warnings of link between lung disease in teens and e-cigarettes
CBS News (August 13, 2019) Teens are being hospitalized for lung damage after vaping – "It's mind-boggling," doctor says
Forbes (July 18, 2019) Teen’s Two-Pod A Day Juul Addiction Caused Massive Stroke, Lawsuit Says
Vox (April 3, 2019) Nicotine-induced seizures could be a side effect of vaping
Business Insider (November 18, 2018) The FDA is preparing to crack down on e-cigs like the Juul — here’s why vaping is so dangerous