JUUL Pod Leaks Resulted in Reports of Users Injury After Exposure, Internal Documents Reveal: Bloomberg

According to internal documents obtained by the FDA, more than 150,000 complaints have been filed involving leaking JUUL pods over the first three years the popular e-cigarette was on the market, resulting in at least 2,600 health problems among users.

A Bloomberg News report published this week describes records received from the FDA through a Freedom of Information Act Request, including customer complaints and information that was part of files seized from JUUL in a September 2018 inspection.

The findings come amid increasing concerns about the side effects of JUUL, including investigations into severe respiratory problems, seizures and teen vaping addictions, which have reached epidemic levels in the United States.

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Since it was introduced in 2015, JUUL quickly became the most popular form of e-cigarette on the market in the United States, especially among teens and young adults, who were targeted in social media advertisements and influencer campaigns. As a result, a new generation of teens have developed nicotine addictions from JUUL, and federal regulators are cracking down on the company’s marketing practices.

According to documents obtained by Bloomberg News, JUUL received a total of 1.3 million customer complaints from 2015 through 2018. Of those, 156,000 involved leaking JUUL pods or cartridges, which contain liquid nicotine and are used in the USB-Drive-like vaping devices. In many instances the JUUL pods leaked into users’ mouths or resulted in other adverse health effects reported by about 2,600 users.

Originally, when the FDA first inspected the company’s internal database, there were only 317 reports logged as “health experiences.” However, JUUL later found another 2,300 health-related reports linked to the leaking pods.

The company indicates it only became aware of the extent of problems from JUUL pod leaks when it discovered some complaints had been submitted through an online channel asking consumers to describe their experiences with JUUL products, according to the report.

One of the more serious reports came from a woman who indicated JUUL’s mango flavored pods caused her to cough so violently that her throat started to bleed. Other reports involved illness after accidentally consuming liquid nicotine due to leaking pods and other minor problems.

JUUL indicates it reviewed the health reports and determined that the leaking pods did not constitute a significant health risk to consumers. Officials also said, due to FDA rules, they would have needed to submit a new marketing application to the FDA to redesign the pods not to leak, which may have taken years.

JUUL Concerns

In addition to concerns over a marketing strategy that targeted teens and young adults, creating life-long users of their products, critics have pointed out that JUUL pods were designed in a way that causes users to inhale large quantities of nicotine, increasing the addictiveness of JUULing, compared to other e-cigarettes.

JUUL removed most of its flavored products from the market last year, since they were intended to appeal to children and prior non-smokers. The JUUL pens were designed to look like USB thumb drives, and emit little to no visible vapor, leading to widespread use among teens and prior non-smokers, many of which now suffer lifelong nicotine addictions from JUULing.

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 teen nicotine addiction problems in the United States, through its design and the company’s marketing practices.

Last week the FDA announced vape product manufacturers had 30 days to remove all unapproved flavored cartridge-based vaping products from the market except tobacco and menthol, which the agency does not believe are as appealing to children.

Dozens of JUULing addiction lawsuits and class action lawsuits are now being pursued against the manufacturer in the federal court system, each raising allegations that the e-cigarette manufacturer marketed their products toward minors and prior non-smokers, while failing to warn that JUUL pods are more potent and addictive than traditional cigarettes.

As more parents and young adults step forward to pursue claims after becoming addicted to JUUL, it is widely expected that thousands of cases will be presented throughout the federal court system.

In October, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating all JUUL cases pending throughout the federal court system before Judge William H. Orrick III, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is where JUUL Labs, Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters are located.


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