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A New York man indicates he now suffers from nicotine addiction, permanent brain injury and chest pains due to the addictive properties of JUUL, indicating in a recently filed lawsuit that the manufacturer of the widely used e-cigarette has failed to warn the public of the risk of vaping with the products.
Jared Pruchnick filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on January 28, naming JUUL Labs, Inc. and Altria Group, Inc. as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Pruchnick began using JUUL electronic cigarettes in 2017, preferring the mint and menthol flavored JUUL pods, which were aggressively marketed to teens and prior non-smokers. However, Pruchnick notes that the manufacturer failed to provide warnings that JUULing was addictive and carried a risk of serious health problems, such as stroke, respiratory injury, heart problems, seizures or brain damage.
“When Plaintiff first started ‘JUULing,’ he was not aware of the dangers associated with JUUL, including the addiction and other harmful health effects it could cause. He was not aware of how much nicotine JUUL products contained,” the complaint states. “JUUL never disclosed to Plaintiff that it had manipulated the nicotine in its products to deliver massive doses of nicotine that could cause immediate addiction for the rest of his life.”
JUUL was just introduced in 2015, but quickly became the most widely used vaping product among teens, following an intentional marketing scheme that followed the tobacco industry playbook of targeting young users, to create new nicotine addictions that are expected to fuel sales for decades.
The addictive JUUL pods are designed to look like USB drives, allowing students to hide their vaping habit from teachers, parents and other adults. Although the manufacturer suggested JUUL was safer than smoking traditional cigarettes, high levels of nicotine are delivered by each pod, making the device particularly addictive.
JUUL Vaping Addiction 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 teen nicotine addiction problems in the United States.
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.
In September 2019, 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.
Pruchnick’s lawsuit joins a growing number of product liability and class action complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide. A panel of federal judges decided in October to consolidate all JUUL nicotine addiction lawsuits before one judge in the federal court system, including both individual product liability claims filed by families, as well as complaints brought on behalf of school districts and other organizations.
JUUL cases pending throughout the federal court system will be consolidated 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.
As JUUL addiction lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months, the litigation is expected to continue to grow, and is likely to encompass tens of thousands of complaints.