Although often marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes can pose serious health risks, especially to children and teens. Boston product liability attorney Michael O. Smith has represented product liability clients throughout his legal career. If you or your child developed an addiction to nicotine after using JUUL products as a minor, please contact Mass Injury Group to discuss your case.
JUUL electronic cigarettes, manufactured by JUUL Labs, Inc., have been extremely popular, especially among young people. The FDA and numerous states have been investigating JUUL Labs’ marketing and sales practices over the past few years. These investigations are looking into the company’s claims about nicotine content, risk, and safety of the products, as well as allegations the company targeted minors in its marketing campaigns. As a result of these investigations, the Massachusetts Attorney General filed a consumer protection lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc., based on advertising and sales allegedly directed at minors and individuals under the age of 21, the minimum purchasing age in Massachusetts. Other states, counties, and even school districts have filed similar lawsuits. School districts have alleged they’ve had to implement anti-vaping procedures, including installing vaping detectors, hiring staff to monitor for e-cigarette use, and develop addiction programs. These school district lawsuits illustrate the extent of the problem in teens and children.
JUUL products had higher nicotine content than the leading competitors, though some competitors increased the levels of nicotine in their products in response. Nicotine is highly addictive. Additionally, JUUL products use nicotine salts, which cause less irritation and allow higher levels of nicotine to be inhaled and absorbed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nicotine can harm brain development in adolescents, including the areas of the brain that control impulse control, learning, attention, and mood.
E-cigarette users are also exposed to other chemicals that can cause adverse health effects, including chemicals that are harmful to the lungs. In addition to lung damage and disease, e-cigarette use has also been associated with increased risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease. The long-term effects of e-cigarette use are not yet fully known.
In addition to the safety issues, there are also concerns about the way JUUL was marketed. There have been allegations that JUUL Labs targeted teens in its marketing campaigns. At one time, JUUL Labs marketed its products heavily on social media. JUUL’s advertising used young models and themes that would be appealing to young people. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges JUUL advertised on websites directed at children and teens. The lawsuit further alleges that JUUL sold products directly to underage consumers through its website and sold to Massachusetts residents who provided dates of birth that indicated they were younger than 21 years old, the legal age of purchase in Massachusetts. Additionally, JUUL products came in flavors, like fruit and mango, that would be appealing to children and teens.
The FDA sent JUUL Labs, Inc., a warning letter in September 2019, finding the company had “adulterated its products . . . by selling or distributing them as modified risk tobacco products” without FDA approval to do so. The warning letter cited to statements by a JUUL representative to students during a presentation that JUUL was “safer than cigarettes” and “totally safe.”
Although JUUL has changed its marketing strategy and warning labels, many people, including youths, used the products before those changes were implemented. According to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General, e-cigarette use increased 900% in high school students between 2011 to 2015. Many of those people are now dealing with nicotine addiction and may have other health issues in the future.
If you or your child became addicted to nicotine by using JUUL products before the age of 18 or suffered other injuries resulting from JUUL use, you should be compensated. Skilled Boston JUUL addiction attorney Michael O. Smith and the team of attorneys at Mass Injury Group can help you. We will review your case and discuss your legal options with you. We serve clients in Boston and the surrounding areas. Please contact us online or call 617-263-0060 to schedule a free consultation.
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