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The makers of JUUL pods face a product liability lawsuit brought by a man who indicates that side effects of vaping as a teenager caused him to become addicted to the e-cigarette and suffer a hemorrhagic stroke.
The complaint (PDF) was filed earlier this month by Maxwell Berger in the Superior Court of California, indicating that JUUL Labs never warned users about the high levels of addictive nicotine in JUUL pods, or the risk that vaping may result in strokes or other serious injury.
Berger indicates that he developed a JUUL addiction in about 2015, when he was still in high school. He became more dependent on the high levels of nicotine contained in the popular products, which also caused his blood pressure to spike, the lawsuit claims.
In July 2017, while the then 20 year old was home from college, Berger indicates he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke due to JUUL vaping, which left him hospitalized for more than 100 days and resulted in permanent injuries.
The JUUL lawsuit joins a growing number of complaints filed by young adults, teenagers and parents, claiming that the manufacturer targeted their addictive product at teens and withheld important safety warnings.
“Defendant designed JUUL to addict young people,” the lawsuit notes. “By studying cigarette industry archives, JUUL learned how to manipulate the nicotine in its products to maximize addictiveness, particularly among new users and young people, and thereby increase sales.”
In recent years, JUUL vape pens have quickly grown to dominate the market for electronic cigarettes, especially among teens and young adults. The JUUL pods are designed to look like USB thumb drives, allowing the vaping habit to be hidden from parents, teachers and other adults. In addition, the manufacturer sells the product in various candy-like flavors, which critics indicate are designed to encourage non-smokers to begin vaping, leading to JUUL addictions due to the 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. Furthermore, vaping during adolescence quadruples a teen’s risk of becoming a cigarette tobacco smoker later.
In February, the American Lung Association gave the FDA a failing grade for not doing enough to prevent teens from using and buying e-cigarettes. Vaping is now the most popular form of tobacco youth among U.S. teens, with rates of teen use jumping by 78% from 2017 to 2018 alone.
In 2011, when the FDA first said it would regulate e-cigarettes, only 1.5 percent of teens vaped, but now more than one-third of teens use e-cigarettes.
Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics also called on the federal government to implement more stringent vaping laws across the country, and not wait another year to act.