JUUL Class Action Lawsuit Filed By Mother and 16 Year Old Teen Addicted to Vaping
A Florida mother has filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of JUUL pods, blaming the company for a vaping addiction developed by her teenage son.
Barbara Yannucci filed the complaint (PDF) last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, indicating that JUUL Labs, Inc. has engaged in false and misleading marketing for the e-cigarette device, which specifically targeted children, including her teenage son, who is identified only by the initials “J.Y.” in the lawsuit.
Yannucci indicates that her son began vaping with JUUL pods when he was only 15 years old, and has now developed an addiction to the e-cigarette, reportedly “Juuling” 12 times per day. The lawsuit notes that the minor faced no problems purchasing the pods at a Wawa convenience store, even though he remains a minor.
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The lawsuit seeks class action status for other similar purchasers of JUUL pods, alleging that the manufacturer has violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, as well as pursuing claims for fraud, unjust enrichment, failure to warn, breach of implied and express warranties and negligence.
“When he first tried a JUUL, Plaintiff J.Y., as a minor, could not appreciate the dangers posed by the nicotine and other chemicals contained in the JUUL, and was not aware how much nicotine a JUUL contained or that the JUUL had specifically been developed to maximize the addictive effects of the nicotine it contained and to put extremely high doses of nicotine into the bloodstream,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff J.Y. states that many of his friends in high school were consuming JUUL products at the time he began using JUUL and continue to do so. JUUL products were and still are popular, ubiquitous and easy to obtain.”
The lawsuit notes that J.Y. tried to hide his Juuling from his mother, Yannuci, who has, since learning he was addicted to vaping, tried to get him to quit, but has failed.
The mother and son say their claims are typical of parents and children nationwide who are struggling with JUUL addictions and seek for the lawsuit to represent all those in similar situations.
JUUL and Vaping Concerns
Although e-cigarettes are only approved for use among adults, critics and federal regulators say manufacturers have heavily marketed the devices to teens and young adults, featuring candy-like flavors and designs that allow them to be easily hidden from parents and teachers.
JUUL pods account for two-thirds of the U.S. e-cigarette market, which has skyrocketed in recent years. They are small devices that resemble a traditional USB flash drive, but contain nicotine e-liquid and are used to vape. However, each JUUL pod can have as much nicotine as two packs of traditional cigarettes.
In another recent study, researchers indicated nearly one-quarter of JUUL’s Twitter followers are under the age of 18, with many adolescent followers retweeting the company’s messages, despite the company’s claim the products are not geared or marketed toward teens.
The FDA has committed to combating the youth nicotine epidemic across the U.S., and in late September, as part of those efforts, the agency conducted a surprise inspection, seizing more than a thousand documents from JUUL Laboratories related to the company’s sales and marketing practices.
In September, the FDA announced the launch of “The Real Cost” youth e-cigarette campaign, which is part of the agency’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan; a $60 million effort to combat the increasing use of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices like the Juul among the nation’s children.
The campaign will involve advertisements on social media and other digital platforms used by teens, including YouTube, Spotify, and others. It also includes advertising messages displayed in high school bathrooms, where many teens use e-cigarettes or are faced with peer pressure to use the devices.
In addition to claims for addiction, a growing number of potential JUUL vape lawsuits are also being reviewed by lawyers nationwide, involving teens and non-smokers who developed respiratory problems and other health complications following use of the vaping pods.
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