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The manufacturers of JUUL pods lied about the nicotine addiction risks, according to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed by a now-20 year old, who began vaping as a teen, before the company added any nicotine content warnings to JUUL.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Cody Bishop in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on November 21, indicating that the manufacturers sold JUUL pods for years without warning that vaping marketedly increased the risk of nicotine addiction in adolescents.
Bishop was born on November 22, 2019, and indicates that he began vaping with JUUL Pods in 2007. As a result of the failure to warn about the risks associated with JUUL, Bishop indicates that he has a life-long injury since he is now permanently addicted to nicotine.
The lawsuit presents claims against JUUL Labs, Inc. and Pax Labs, Inc., indicating the manufacturers ignored the association between JUUL and nicotine addiction, and continued to market their products towards teens and prior non-smokers. The first warnings about nicotine addiction JUUL were not added to the product until August 2018.
“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 states. “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.”
The complaint is one of a growing number of JUUL lawsuits being pursued nationwide by individuals, who often started vaping as minors, and now indicate they have become addicted to JUULing.
Earlier this month, a study published in JAMA Network Open found that JUUL products deliver much higher amounts of nicotine to the blood than other e-cigarette products, increasing the risk of addiction.
Recent FDA data indicates that 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 the design and marketing of their vape pen.
JUUL was intentionally designed in a way that allowed teens to hide their vaping habit from parents, teachers and other adults. It was also sold in various candy-like flavors, which has resulted in a large number of teens and prior non-smokers starting to vape.
Another recent study indicated 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.
Later that month the CEO stepped down after it was announced JUUL was the target of a criminal investigation, and the company ceased all advertising in the U.S. Last month, the company ceased marketing of its non-traditional flavored products, except tobacco, menthol and mint.
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.