When e-cigarettes were first introduced, they were marketed by manufacturers as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes for adult smokers. Rather than replacing traditional cigarette smoking, however, the e-cigarette Juul may actually be encouraging it. Juul Labs’ marketing makes “juuling” seem “fun, healthy and cool,” and because e-cigarettes are so easily accessible and come in a wide selection of flavors, the devices are especially appealing to young people, many of whom had never smoked before they began juuling. In fact, Juul has become so popular that it now represents 75% of the e-cigarette market. Unfortunately, children and teens who succumbed to Juul Labs’ deceptive marketing strategies targeting youth are now finding it hard to stop juuling and some are suffering serious and potentially life-threatening health problems as a result of their Juul addiction. If you have become addicted to nicotine from juuling, our consumer advocates at Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a product liability lawyer who has experience handling e-cigarette addiction claims.
A Juul is a battery-powered, e-cigarette smoking device that has become popular among teens and young adults for its sleek, discrete design, the variety of flavors its liquid-filled cartridges come in, and the fact that it can be used indoors and easily recharges in just one hour. Juul was developed by Juul Labs in 2015 and the device, which looks just like a USB drive, uses a pod cartridge that clicks into the top of the device and contains a nicotine e-liquid. An internal, regulated heating mechanism heats and converts the liquid into a vapor that is then inhaled by the user. Juul devices are small, compact and portable and are easy to use in places where smoking is prohibited, including in school, which has made juuling extremely popular among children, teens and young adults.
The main difference between Juul devices and other e-cigarettes is the concentration and content of the Juul pods. The e-liquid contained in Juul pods is 5% nicotine by volume, which is more than double the concentration of nicotine in similar e-cigarette devices. In fact, Juul Labs previously said that the amount of nicotine contained in just one Juul pod is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes, but the company has since removed that claim from its website. While other brands of e-cigarettes use a chemically modified form of nicotine called “freebase nicotine,” Juul devices use a more potent modified, salt form of nicotine, which delivers more nicotine into the user’s bloodstream.
When e-cigarettes were first introduced, the makers of these devices implied that the increased use of e-cigarettes would eventually decrease or replace the use of traditional cigarettes. However, according to a 2015 study, in a survey of youths and e-cigarette use, “more than a quarter of a million youths who had never smoked cigarettes had used electronic cigarettes and nearly half expressed intention to use conventional cigarettes in the future, compared with 22% of those who had never used electronic cigarettes.” In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2018, researchers found that non-smoking adults were four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes after just 18 months of vaping or juuling. And a recent CDC report titled “Progress Erased: Youth Tobacco Use Increased During 2017-2018” concluded that e-cigarette use among high school students had increased from 11.7% in 2017 to 20.8% in 2018.
Not only does Juul make smoking easier and more convenient and increase the risk of nicotine addiction, even for those who have never smoked in the past, research has shown that the use of e-cigarettes like Juul can also affect the development of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus in adolescents. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that can affect brain chemistry and development in teen users, many of whom may not even realize they are consuming nicotine. Until about age 25, the brain is still growing and developing and becoming addicted to nicotine in adolescence can increase the possibility of long-term harm and prime the brain for addiction to other drugs, such as cocaine. As a result of concerns about the rate of addiction and side effects among Juul users, Juul Labs is facing lawsuits claiming that the company’s products were intentionally and deceptively marketed to children, adolescents and teens under the legal smoking age. In one lawsuit, filed by a Connecticut man against Juul Labs, the plaintiff, now 22, alleges that, after becoming addicted to Juul as a high school student, he developed a two-pod a day Juul habit and eventually suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. The stroke required three brain surgeries and left him with “catastrophic and permanent injuries,” including speech impairment, paralysis and a 50% loss of vision in both eyes.
March 2018 – Seven major public health groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association, file a lawsuit against the FDA for extending the e-cigarette product application deadline for FDA approval.
April 2018 – Two plaintiffs file a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Juul Labs used “false and deceptive” advertising, marketed Juul as safe, when it is actually more addictive than cigarettes, and failed to warn about the potential side effects of Juul use.
June 2018 – A mother files a Juul lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of her 15-year-old son, alleging that her son tried juuling and became addicted. The lawsuit indicates that nicotine addiction has “altered his brain physically and chemically.”
April 2019 – Juul Labs faces a federal class action lawsuit accusing the company of illegally downplaying the risks associated with Juul devices, in order to expand their appeal and use among youth.
May 2019 – North Carolina’s attorney general files a lawsuit against Juul Labs, accusing the company of using “unfair and deceptive” marketing practices and causing an “epidemic” of e-cigarette addiction among young people.
June 2019 – Juul Labs faces a class action lawsuit in California over its marketing practices, which the lawsuit alleges mirror those of the traditional tobacco industry.
August 2019 – State prosecutors in Illinois sue Juul Labs, accusing the company of using deceptive marketing strategies to target young people and intentionally get them addicted to nicotine.
August 2019 – A lawsuit is filed against Juul Labs and Philip Morris USA, on behalf of a 19-year-old who claims that he became addicted to nicotine after he began juuling at the age of 16.
2016 – A Surgeon’s General report states that e-cigarette use among youth and young adults in the U.S. “is now a major public health concern.”
August 2016 – The FDA is given the authority to regulate e-cigarettes along with traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. As a result, it is now illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18 and e-cigarette manufacturers must garner approval from the FDA to market their products.
July 2017 – The FDA announces that it would give e-cigarette manufacturers until 2022 to submit their new product applications to the agency, extending the deadline from 2018. This allows e-cigarettes to remain on the market as they are.
April 2018 – FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announces the creation of the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to prevent youth access to tobacco products and reduce tobacco-related disease and death.
September 2018 – The FDA calls youth vaping an “epidemic” and begins cracking down on e-cigarette retailers and manufacturers.
June-September 2018 – The FDA issues 1,300 warning letters to 40 e-cigarette retailers and five major manufacturers for illegally selling Juul and other e-cigarette devices to minors.
September 2018 – The U.S. Surgeon General issues a warning about the dangers of e-cigarettes, indicating that “recent data on youth e-cigarette use are alarming.”
July 2019 – Juul CEO, Kevin Burns, apologizes to parents in the midst of teen vaping epidemic, which has been blamed on Juul.
March 2007 – The UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists finds that nicotine is about as addictive as cocaine and is more addictive than alcohol and anti-anxiety medications.
March 2007 – The journal Psychopharmacology publishes a study showing that adolescents who began smoking at a young age exhibit markedly reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex area of the brain, which is responsible for cognitive behavior and decision making.
January 2015 – Researchers find that the nicotine solutions present in e-cigarettes include glycerol, propylene glycol and flavoring chemicals, which can interact in such a way during the vaping process as to produce formaldehyde-releasing agents, which may be carcinogenic.
August 2015 – A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine indicates that nicotine can impair lung and brain development in adolescent users.
August 2015 – The Journal of Physiology publishes a study concluding that the “use of drugs containing nicotine may have potentially severe consequences for teen addiction, cognition, and emotional regulation. Thus, not only tobacco but also e-cigarettes must be considered as serious threats to adolescent mental health.”
June 2016 – A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds the toxic chemical diacetyl present in 39 of the 51 flavors of e-cigarettes researchers tested. When inhaled, diacetyl causes “popcorn lung,” a serious lung disease characterized by scarring of the air sacs in the lungs.
January 2018 – The journal Pediatrics publishes a study indicating that Juul and other e-cigarette devices could be introducing a whole new generation of teens and young adults to nicotine addiction and causing some to graduate to traditional cigarette smoking.
April 2018 – Researchers report that non-smoking adults are four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes after 18 months of vaping or juuling.
September 2018 – A study published in the British Medical Journal warns that Juul pods expose minors to high levels of nicotine, which can increase the risk of nicotine addiction and long-term health problems.
February 2019 – Researchers from the University of Kansas School of Medicine conduct a survey of 400,000 people, which finds that, compared to non-users, those who use e-cigarettes have a 71% greater risk of suffering a stroke.
February 2019 – The CDC reports that e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 11.7% in 2017 to 20.8% in 2018.
June 2019 – The Journal of the American Heart Association publishes a study linking e-cigarettes to a two-times increased risk of heart attack in adults.
E-cigarette devices like Juul have been aggressively and deceptively marketed to teens and young adults, many of whom are unaware that the devices expose users to large amounts of nicotine, which can increase their risk of nicotine addiction and cause serious, long-term health problems. Product liability lawsuits filed against Juul Labs accuse the company of the following:
E-cigarette devices like Juul may help some adult smokers kick their habit, but many young adults who never smoked in the past are using e-cigarettes recreationally, which may make them more likely to begin smoking traditional cigarettes and can increase their risk of addiction and other serious side effects. The long-term health risks of Juul use among youth are not yet known, but there is significant evidence indicating that nicotine is a highly addictive substance that can impact brain chemistry and development in adolescents. If you are a Juul user, and you have developed an addiction to nicotine or suffered a serious health problem that you believe was caused by juuling, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against Juul Labs. Contact our consumer advocates at Consumer Justice Foundation today to speak to an experienced Juul addiction attorney about your possible compensation options.