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An 18-year-old from Illinois has filed a product liability lawsuit against the makers of JUUL, indicating that side effects of vaping caused a respiratory injury, which has left the teen with the lungs of a 70 year old man.
The complaint was filed earlier this month by Adam Hergenreder in Lake County, Illinois Circuit Court, indicating that JUUL e-cigarettes were were targeted towards children with flavors designed to appeal to non-smokers, while failing to warn that about the risk of severe respiratory illness and lung damage linked to vaping chemicals.
Hergenreder indicates he began vaping at age 16, using both JUUL pods and other containing THC, called dab sticks. In August 2019, he was hospitalized on for several days after suffering severe respiratory problems from vaping, which left him unable to breathe without assistance.
The lawsuit indicates JUUL caused “significant lung damage”, from which Hergenreder may never fully heal.
The complaint comes as federal health officials are investigating more than 500 reported cases of vaping respiratory injury linked to JUUL and other products, including at least eight deaths.
On September 6, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began urging consumers nationwide to avoid vaping, until more about the illnesses can be determined.
In response to the continuing concerns about vaping, federal regulators, as well as the states of California and New York say they are planning to ban flavored e-cigarettes, which experts say entice underage consumers, from the market. Michigan has already enacted a ban.
In addition to the cases of lung disease, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received at least 127 reports of seizures and other neurological symptoms believed to be linked to e-cigarette use. The agency is investigating whether there is a direct relationship between vaping and seizures, or other adverse neurological events.
A stream of additional studies published over the last few years have linked e-cigarette use to seizures, pneumonia, fungal infections of the lungs, and respiratory health risks, among many other adverse health effects.
While this case appears to be one of the first filed complaints involving a vaping respiratory injury, a growing number of JUUL addiction lawsuits are also being filed on behalf of teenagers, young adults and other adults who indicate that they have developed a life-long nicotine problem due to false and misleading advertisements made for years about the vape pen, which most users failed to understand included much higher levels of nicotine that traditional cigarettes.