JUUL Teen Addiction Lawsuit Alleges Manufacturer Targeted Product Toward Children
A product liability lawsuit has been filed by three teens who developed nicotine addictions from JUUL vaping pods, indicating that the manufacturers have engaged in an intentional campaign to market their product towards underage children and develop life-time users.
Lindsey Chapman, Justin Meir and Jared Pitts filed a joint complaint (PDF) against JUUL Labs, Inc. in California Superior Court in San Francisco on July 19, indicating that all three have developed JUUL addictions.
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.
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Chapman, of California, indicates she became addicted in 2016, while still in high school. Meir, of Florida, was also in high school in 2016 when he became addicted; as was Pitts, of South Carolina, who became addicted in 2017, the lawsuit indicates.
“In 2015, JUUL set out to recapture the magic of the most successful product ever made – the cigarette. Due to regulations and court orders preventing the major cigarette manufacturers from marketing to young people, youth smoking had decreased to its lowest levels in decades,” the lawsuit states. “While the public health community celebrated this decline as a victory, JUUL saw an opportunity. Seizing on regulatory inaction and loopholes fore-cigarettes, JUUL set out to develop and market a highly addictive product that could be packaged and sold to young people.”
The case joins a growing number of JUUL lawsuits filed by young adults, teenagers and parents, claiming that the manufacturer targeted their addictive product toward teens and withheld important safety warnings.
Recent FDA data indicates teen e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels. In fact, e-cigarettes have become the most popular form of tobacco among teens.
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.
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