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Failure to disclose the nicotine levels in JUUL and an aggressive marketing campaign that aimed the controversial e-cigarettes towards minors allegedly caused a 19-year-old teen from Michigan to become addicted to JUUL, according to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Nadia Fitzgerald in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on February 22, indicating the manufacturers created the widespread teen vaping problems in the United States by failing to warn about the amount of nicotine in each pod and intentionally targetting adolescents.
Fitzgerald, now 19 years old, indicates she began vaping with JUUL products when she was only 15 years old, unaware of the risks associated with the product.
The lawsuit indicates the manufacturers failed to include nicotine content warnings until August 2018, long after Fitzgerald and tens of thousands of other teens were addicted to JUUL pods.
JUUL was just introduced in 2015, but quickly became the most widely used vaping product among teens, creating new nicotine addictions that were expected to drive JUUL sales for decades.
The addictive JUUL pods were 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.
“Defendants launched an extensive marketing campaign which included advertisements directly targeted towards adolescents and minors,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants targeted social medial platforms and sponsored events primarily attended by teenagers.”
As a result, Fitzgerald indicates she has developed a nicotine addiction which she will battle for the rest of her life.
JUUL Nicotine Addiction Problems
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.
In addition to this latest filing by Massachusetts, and Motarjeme’s lawsuit, a growing number of JUUL lawsuits and class action claims have been filed nationwide. Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the JUUL litigation has been centralized before U.S. District 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.