JUUL Addiction and Injury Litigation

Twenty years after Robins Kaplan LLP entered into the historic settlement with big tobacco, and after steadily declining teen tobacco use rates, the country is again facing a tobacco addiction epidemic.1  New and regular tobacco use has increased for the first time in seventeen years, fueled by a jump in e-cigarette use by teens over the past three years.2  This reversal of the trend can be traced to the incredible increase in popularity of JUUL, which has become so pervasive, that “to JUUL,” is now a verb.3  Just as it was called to action twenty years ago to address the first tobacco epidemic, Robins Kaplan is again committed to taking on this new threat and is actively litigating against JUUL. 

The FDA has declared that the United States is in the middle of a youth vaping epidemic.4  E-cigarette use increased 78% among high school students (11.7% to 20.8%) and 48% among middle school students (3.3% to 4.9%) from 2017 to 2018.5  Among middle and high school students, 3.62 million were current users of e-cigarettes in 2018.6  JUUL is the most popular brand of e-cigarette in the United States, with 75% of the market.7  Its dramatic rise in popularity, especially among young people, has caused the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy to scrutinize its marketing practices.8  The House Subcommittee concluded that:

JUUL deployed a sophisticated program to enter schools and convey its messaging directly to teenage children; JUUL also targeted teenagers and children, as young as eight years old, in summer camps and public out-of-school programs; and JUUL recruited thousands of online “influencers” to market to teens.9

Studies have shown that JUUL’s e-cigarette device and e-liquid “pods” deliver more nicotine into the bloodstream than traditional combustible cigarettes.10  In addition to its addiction potential, numerous studies report that nicotine exposure to individuals under the age of 26 can harm the developing brain, which can impact learning, memory, and attention.11 

There have also been reports of serious lung injuries, seizures, and cardiovascular injuries potentially associated with the use of e-cigarettes.12  The CDC has reported 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of electronic cigarette products.13  The injuries resulted in significant hospitalizations, sometimes requiring the use of ventilators.14  Four of the reported cases have resulted in death.15  At the same time, the FDA is investigating reports of seizures (127 received so far) potentially related to e-cigarette use.16 

We are currently evaluating cases of young people who became addicted to nicotine after using JUUL, as well as severe injuries associated with using JUUL e-cigarettes.  For a free case evaluation, please call 1.800.553.9910 (toll-free) or contact us online here.  Our medical advisors are standing by. 

1 Belluck, Tobacco Companies Settle a Suit With Minnesota for $6.5 Billion, NYTimes (May 9, 1998), available at  https://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/09/us/tobacco-companies-settle-a-suit-with-minnesota-for-6.5-billion.html; https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6806e1.htm?s_cid=osh-vs-mmwr-full-001
2 MN Department of Health, New survey shows Minnesota youth tobacco use rising for the first time in 17 years (February 15, 2018), available at https://www.health.s‌tate.mn.‌us/news/pressrel/2018/youthtob021518.html; https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6806e1.htm?s_cid=osh-vs-mmwr-full-001
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on new steps to address epidemic of youth e-cigarette use (Sep. 12, 2018), available at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-new-steps-address-epidemic-youth-e-cigarette-use; https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6806e1.htm?s_cid=osh-vs-mmwr-full-001; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/27/science/juul-vaping-teen-marketing.html 
4 https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-new-steps-address-epidemic-youth-e-cigarette-use-including-historic-action-against-more
9 https://oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/new-documents-show-juul-deliberately-targeted-children-to-become-the-nation-s
Goniewicz ML, Boykan R, Messina CR, et al. High Exposure to Nicotine Among Adolescents who use JUUL and Other Vape Pod Systems.  Tob Control Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054565. See also,  Benowitz, et al., Nicotine Chemistry, Metabolism, Kinetics and Biomarkers, 192 Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology 29-60 (Oct. 13, 2010), available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2953858/; Pulvers, et al, Tobacco Consumption and Toxicant Exposure of Cigarette Smokers Using Electronic Cigarettes, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2018, 206-214; Omaiye et al., High-Nicotine Electronic Cigarette Products: Toxicity of JUUL Fluids and Aerosols Corrlelates Strongly with Nicotine and Some Flavor Chemical Concentrations, Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2019, 32, 1058-1069 (2019); andPankow, J., et al., Benzene formation in electronic cigarettes (2017) PLoS ONE: 12(3):e0173055 (reporting 61.6 mg/ml of nicotine in JUUL).
Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth (2018) available at https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/surgeon-generals-advisory-on-e-cigarette-use-among-youth-2018.pdfSee also Musso F et al., Smoking impacts on prefrontal attentional network function in young adult brains, Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007 Mar;191(1):159-69. Epub 2006.
13 https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
14 Id.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/health/vaping-death-lung.html ; http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-reports-vaping-injury-death/559591192/