Do You Qualify for a JUUL Lawsuit and What Does it Entail?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
The increasing use of e-cigarettes among teenagers and young people in recent years has led to what the U.S. Surgeon General has labeled an “e-cigarette epidemic among youth.” There has been a corresponding surge in the number of e-cigarette lawsuits, as the detrimental health effects resulting from e-cigarette usage have become increasingly visible.
Among those most responsible for this epidemic is the e-cigarette and nicotine pod manufacturer JUUL Labs, Inc., known as JUUL. JUUL is accused of concealing the risks and dangers of using its product, such as nicotine addiction, lung disease, even death, and false advertising targeting impressionable minors.
The company faces a growing number of both civil and class-action lawsuits around the country. Most recently, North Carolina won $40 million in damages from the company, and JUUL is being sued by another nine states, with more likely to join.
If you have experience with JUUL products and suspect you or someone you love may have become addicted to nicotine or suffered physical harm as a result of their use, find out what lawsuits are being brought against the company and whether you qualify to pursue legal action.
What is a JUUL Lawsuit?
A JUUL lawsuit relates to claims that electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) manufacturer JUUL has manufactured and marketed vaping products that have led to severe lung injuries, seizures, strokes, and other diseases. JUUL is based in San Francisco and controls approximately 75% of the e-cigarette market.
The claims involve suggestions that JUUL Labs, Inc. purposely used high nicotine levels in the e-cig fluids they manufacture, knowing it could lead to nicotine addiction, despite marketing tactics strongly suggesting the contrary.
The JUUL advertising campaign was concentrated on targeting young people, suggesting that e-cigarettes do not pose the same risk as traditional cigarettes and could even help wean smokers off traditional tobacco. However, an increasing incidence of nicotine addiction among younger people, alongside lung diseases and other ailments related to the use of the product, has led to increased regulatory scrutiny of the e-cigarette industry and more lawsuits against JUUL, its most prominent representative.
A JUUL lawsuit refers to lawsuits targeting the e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL Labs specifically but may also be used to reference lawsuits against e-cigarette manufacturers more broadly. These lawsuits are often filed by the parents of underage children or young adults, who claim they were misled about the side effects of vaping and nicotine content of JUUL’s products.
What is JUUL, or E-cigarettes?
An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that heats liquid nicotine. The liquid is stored in a JUUL pod, inserted into a cartridge, and inhaled through the mouthpiece.
According to the World Health Organization, the United States is the largest market for vaping devices and e-cigarettes globally.
Health Effects of JUUL
Over time, e-cigarettes have been connected to several potential or actual health hazards, such as increased nicotine addiction, seizures, and deadly lung conditions that have led to fatalities. While the long-term effects of JUUL e-cigarettes and vapes specifically are not yet known because they’ve only been on the market since 2017, common complaints related to e-cigarette use include coughing, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.
As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only started regulating e-cigarettes in mid-2016, little was done before this date to control the manufacturing, marketing, or sales of the product, leading to its widespread use.
E-cigarettes gained popularity based on the marketing premise they were a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, particularly among high school students. JUUL capitalized on this notion in social media marketing campaigns targeting the young and suggesting its products were harmless, hip, and cool.
As time wore on, however, so did the number of reported cases of seizures, other neurological reactions, and worsened lung conditions suspected to be linked to e-cigarette usage and vaping. Seizures, for example, can be brought about by the extraordinarily high nicotine levels in a single vape pod, which can amount to the equivalent of more than a whole pack of cigarettes.
These suspicions led the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to launch an investigation that prompted the U.S. Surgeon General to conclude that e-cigarette users were exposed to harmful chemicals.
The investigation found the chemicals e-cigarette users were exposed to included nicotine, formaldehyde, carbonyl compounds, and other potentially volatile organic compounds. In addition, e-liquids are often flavored. Many of these flavors contain a chemical called diacetyl, which the researchers linked to the incurable lung condition bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn lung.
Although there are fewer chemicals in e-cigarettes than in tobacco, the underlying problem is that it has long been at the e-cigarette manufacturer’s discretion exactly how much nicotine and other chemicals they contain. This makes it challenging to determine which toxic chemicals are contained in which brands.
JUUL Risks and Side Effects
There are various short-term side effects and risks associated with using JUUL e-cigarettes and vaping products. These include:
JUUL Lung Injuries
Lung injuries induced by vaping are commonly known as a Vaping-Associated Pulmonary Injury (VAPI) or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury (VALI). These can be severe and even life-threatening. A VAPI is a general term for various types of acute lung damage triggered by vaping, found to be similar to pneumonia or pneumonitis.
Nicotine addiction is the most common effect of JUUL or other vape usages, just like tobacco cigarettes. The high concentration of nicotine in a vape pod and the speed with which it is consumed, however, make those who vape more prone to nicotine addiction.
The more an individual vapes, the more their brain and body become accustomed to nicotine, making it harder to stop. When withdrawing, nicotine levels in the bloodstream drop, which causes irritability, nervousness, unpleasantness, and the urge to vape to relax.
Death by JUUL
In October 2019, a California woman filed the first wrongful-death lawsuit against JUUL, alleging that her teenage son had died from complications resulting from vaping JUUL products. In addition, due to the use of unregulated and illegal black market cannabis vaping products used in conjunction with JUUL products, the CDC reported 2,807 hospitalizations and deaths from all 50 states as of February 18, 2020.
How is JUUL a Problem to Society?
The JUUL debacle is a collective problem that has affected society more broadly than just the people directly affected by their e-cigarette use. Vaping took off as a social phenomenon after the introduction of e-cigarettes in 2004, with a nationwide survey from the American College of Physicians (ACP) showing that 10.8 million adults were still vaping as of 2018, including an estimated 2 million middle and high schoolers addicted to nicotine from vape pens.
JUUL, which was introduced to the market in 2017, quickly became the dominant e-cigarette brand among the over 400 different brands on offer through its dominant advertising.
Even more severe has been the persistence of the widespread myth that e-cigarettes are a healthier or even safe alternative to traditional tobacco. This myth was broadly allowed to persist unchallenged for over a decade and was deliberately reinforced by JUUL marketing campaigns targeting the young, particularly on social media platforms.
The wide range of fruit and other flavors available in nicotine pods were also designed to make nicotine more attractive to young people.
In addition to creating even more social pressure on the young and impressionable, it has been proven that teen vaping can put them even more at risk of nicotine addiction, that it can be a gateway drug, it makes them more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes, and that it may even affect brain development.
The CDC’s research also found that e-liquid poisoning is still rapidly increasing, as the awareness of the dangers related to vaping has only become more mainstream over the last few years. This also means that as a society, we are not yet aware of the full ramifications of the use of JUUL and other e-cigarettes over a more extended period, as new cases about the health effects of JUUL continue to come to light.
How to File a JUUL Lawsuit
If you suspect you are suffering from a health issue due to using JUUL or another e-cigarette manufacturer, you should consult with an attorney, who can help you review whether you have a case and what type of lawsuit you would file.
Typically, if you are considering filing a lawsuit against JUUL or another manufacturer, it will be a product liability lawsuit. In this event, you and your attorney will have to prove that the product was manufactured or designed with defects or distributed with knowledge of defects or potential health hazards undisclosed to the customer.
You may also choose to file a medical lawsuit. In this case, you will have to determine a direct connection between the use of the product and the event causing the health issue. You should seek legal advice on which type of lawsuit to file, as your claim could fall into either category or both.
If your attorney agrees to proceed, an investigation will ensue into the type of e-cigarette you were using, its particular manufacturing and usage history, the general history and record of the brand, and whether or not you modified the cigarette yourself or were influenced by any other stimulants while smoking the cigarette.
You should take as many accurate notes as possible about your e-cigarette use, your history, and you should preserve any remaining samples of the e-cigarette or liquid nicotine pods that you think contributed to your health problems. If you are filing a lawsuit on the grounds of addiction and are over age 26, you will need to prove you did not previously use nicotine products or smoke before using JUUL products.
Questions Your JUUL lawyer May Ask
At your initial consultation regarding your lawsuit, your attorney may ask you some of the following questions:
- Which specific JUUL product did you use?
- When and where did you obtain it?
- Did you use any drugs or stimulants while using the JUUL product?
- Did you modify the vape or the e-cigarette in any way?
- What were and are your exact symptoms, and when did you start experiencing them?
- How old were you when you began using JUUL products? How old are you now?
Do You Qualify for a JUUL Lawsuit?
The following factors may qualify you to file a JUUL or other e-cigarette manufacturer lawsuit:
Minors Addicted to Nicotine
Any minor who has demonstrably developed nicotine addiction due to using JUUL qualifies to file a JUUL lawsuit. According to the FDA and the U.S. Surgeon General, the marketing campaigns employed by JUUL Labs Inc. were explicitly designed to attract young people to JUUL. If it can be determined that, as a minor, you developed nicotine addiction by using JUUL, you are eligible to file a JUUL lawsuit.
If you have experienced a seizure due to nicotine poisoning from using a JUUL vape pen, you may be eligible to file a JUUL seizure lawsuit.
You may be eligible to file a JUUL lawsuit for physical harm if you have developed respiratory problems from vaping. Due to the lack of regulation of e-cigarettes until 2016, ample time has passed for severe lung conditions to develop because of the variety of harmful chemicals in nicotine pods.
Is There an Age Limit for a JUUL Lawsuit?
The age span for claims related to addiction or illness due to JUUL e-cigarettes typically ranges from 14 to 26. While tobacco or vaping products are generally not available to minors and people under 21, social media platforms have contributed to enabling the purchase of vaping products online at age 18.
As age is often not verified by online vendors, young people and children have been adept at procuring these products. However, this has made the process of determining an exact age limit across the board more complex. If you are under 26, you may be eligible to file an addiction claim if your addiction results from using JUUL products. Those over 26 will likely need to prove they had no prior use of nicotine products to file a claim against JUUL. Consult your attorney about your specific circumstances.
Can I File a JUUL Lawsuit on Behalf of My Child?
Yes. You have the right to file a lawsuit and seek compensation on behalf of a child or a teen who has become addicted to nicotine due to JUUL if you are their parent or legal guardian.
JUUL Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
A JUUL lawsuit settlement amount depends on the extent of the damages sustained through using JUUL products. A ruling determines results following a trial, or, as often happens, it may be settled out of court by JUUL or the e-cigarette manufacturer.
Compensation can go up to $1 million or more depending on damages but is typically less in individual cases. Damages include compensation for medical treatment due to lung disease or other resulting health problems and any potential future treatment.
Status of JUUL Lawsuits
As of July 2020, there were 758 JUUL lawsuits around the U.S. North Carolina was the first state to hold JUUL Labs accountable, with JUUL agreeing to pay the state $40 million in damages and change its business practices. Other states, including Colorado and Massachusetts, filed lawsuits against JUUL, while 39 states are part of a coalition currently investigating the company.
Other state lawsuits are likely to be successful in the wake of the North Carolina decision.
What are the Claims in JUUL Lawsuits?
The claims brought by plaintiffs in JUUL lawsuits typically comprise, but do not always amount to, the following:
Promotion of Nicotine
The claim that JUUL intentionally promoted nicotine use, marketing nicotine vaping as fun, harmless, and a safe alternative to cigarettes while obscuring the amount of nicotine consumers were ingesting, leading to addiction.
Marketing to Minors
The claim that JUUL intentionally designed its marketing campaign to attract and influence impressionable minors, particularly online, while failing to warn that its nicotine products are even more addictive than tobacco cigarettes; instead, it claimed the opposite.
Failure to Warn Against Risks
The claim that JUUL failed to warn against the risks of developing nicotine addiction from using their products. They also failed to warn that product defects could be a potential health hazard.
Get a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love, such as your child, has become a nicotine addict, developed a lung condition, or has otherwise been adversely affected by JUUL’s addictive products and misleading advertising, you should seek compensation.
If you are in Michigan, contact the Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. immediately to determine your eligibility to file a JUUL lawsuit. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our attorneys are skills in the area of product liability law and can help you pursue damages for your physical and emotional suffering. Call us today toll-free at 1-866-Mich Law (866-MICH-LAW) or visit our webpage at www.cochranlaw.com to schedule a free initial consultation.
Should I sue JUUL?
If you suspect that you have suffered severe health injury due to using JUUL products, you may be eligible to sue for damages and receive compensation. At least 59 known e-cigarette users had died due to vaping-related lung injuries as of January 2020.
Can I get money from JUUL?
You may be eligible to file a claim for compensation against JUUL if you are a minor under 18 or a young adult under 26 and now find yourself addicted to nicotine or if you never used tobacco products before JUUL. You could get money from JUUL if you and your attorney determine that you have a valid compensation claim and if your lawsuit is successful.
Is there a class action lawsuit against JUUL?
Yes. There is a class-action lawsuit against JUUL in the United States, claiming JUUL’s marketing appeals to minors specifically and downplays the potential risks associated with vaping and e-cigarette use.
Is suing JUUL a good idea?
If you suspect you’ve sustained damages due to using JUUL under the false pretenses of its marketing campaigns, and you can prove it, then yes. Among the charges against JUUL are that the company knew its e-cigarettes were unsafe and presented a risk of nicotine addiction in non-smokers and increased nicotine addiction in smokers. Consult an attorney about your circumstances.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.