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The makers of JUUL vaping pods face a product liability lawsuit brought by a 19 year old teen, who indicates the company deceived youths throughout the United States about the risk of nicotine addiction associated with the widely used e-cigarettes.
The complaint (PDF) was filed late last month by Mohammed Aldawoodi in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, indicating he began using JUUL products three years ago, while he was a minor, and became addicted due to the high concentrations of nicotine in JUUL pods.
Aldawoodi is pursuing damages from JUUL Labs, Inc. and Pax Labs, Inc., as a result of psychological trauma and a life-long nicotine addiction from JUUL pods, which was allegedly not disclosed in marketing materials directed towards teens and prior non-smokers.
While JUUL was just introduced in 2015, it has been aggressively marketed through social media and other influencer campaigns, causing it to become one of the most widely used vaping products in the U.S., especially among teens and young adults. JUUL vape pens were are designed to look like USB drives, allowing students to hide their vaping habit from teachers, parents and other adults.
According to allegations raised in the complaint, Aldawoodi and other teens were led to believe that the products were safe, “JUULing” result in exposure to large amounts of nicotine. Aldawoodi points out that a nicotine warning was not placed on JUUL until August 2018, long after a new generation of Americans were already addicted to vaping.
“When warning of safety and risks of JUUL, Defendants negligently and/or fraudulently represented to Plaintiff and the public in general, that JUUL did not create a high risk of nicotine addiction in adolescents,” the lawsuit claims. “Defendants intentionally targeted adolescents in their marketing campaigns and through the production of flavored JUUL Pods that concealed the nicotine content contained in the JUUL Pods.”
JUUL Teen Epidemic
Recent FDA data indicates teen e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels in the United States, and JUUL Labs has been accused of fueling the growing nicotine addiction problems among teens in the United States, as a result of the design of their product and marketing that intentionally targeted teens and prior non-smokers.
In addition to designing JUUL to look like a USB thumb drive, the manufacturer also marketed and sold JUUL pods in various candy-like flavors, which has resulted in a large number of teens and prior non-smokers starting to vape, and developing addictions to the high levels of nicotine contained in the pods.
A recent study indicated that e-cigarette advertising reaches 80% of middle and high school students in the U.S. Another study warns that vaping during adolescence quadruples a teen’s risk of becoming a cigarette tobacco smoker later.
On September 9, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL, indicating there was evidence it told school-aged children that its products were safer than cigarettes, which has not been proven.
In addition, federal and state health experts are investigating the cause of widespread respiratory illness linked to JUUL and other vaping products. However, it is unclear whether Wakefield is counted among the 30 deaths reported nationwide. The FDA is also investigating whether JUUL is linked to nearly 130 cases of e-cigarette-related seizures.
Earlier this year, JUUL announced it was removing all flavored products except mint, menthol and tobacco flavors from the market.
Aldawoodi’s lawsuit joins a number of other JUUL addiction lawsuits filed in courts throughout the U.S., pursuing damages for teens and young adults whose first use of nicotine came through the e-cigarettes, resulting in a life-long habit that also carries serious health risks.