Juul Labs, Inc. is being sued for injuries, death, addicting young people and disrupting county school districts. That’s four types of lawsuits, two potential class actions.
Certainly, there’s a lot of people media confusing nicotine-vaping with THC-vaping and health issues related to fake cartridges. Here we go through lawsuit types and their causes of action. We’ll update this post as more Juul lawsuit developments take place.
There are now four types of lawsuits against Juul Labs, Inc.
Currently, there is a pending class action against Juul related to addiction, injury suits from people hurt by the devices, a wrongful death claim and suits from counties over it affecting schools. Juul is facing lawsuits from all sides. It makes us wonder if they will survive after all this or face bankruptcy.
Lawsuits go after the deepest pockets. Juul is relatively new, but it’s tied to Phillip Morris. At the time of originally posting this Phillip Morris has a market cap of $122 billion. Phillip Morris creates the popular Marlboro cigarettes and their products are sold in over 180 countries. Below we’ll go through each lawsuit.
Juul class action lawsuit: Viscomi et al. v. JUUL Labs, Inc. et al.
This might be the most popular lawsuit against Juul. It was filed in August of 2018 and is still pending litigation. Here we run through the allegations in this lawsuit.
The class-action lawsuit against Juul alleges the following:
- Juul had full knowledge its vaporizers were not safe under any circumstances for non-smokers and made addiction to nicotine worse in persons already smoking cigarettes, but failed to disclose these issues
- Juul products were made to appeal to young people
- Juul created online content that was designed to encourage young people to use them
Below we break down some of the allegations and add some info we have learned over the years about Juul.
Juul vaping deemed un-safe, for smokers too
The allegation that Juul vaping is un-safe is legitimate. There’s two reasons Juul is un-safe. First being it’s delivering even more nicotine than a real ciggarette. Second, which has not been discussed yet in the lawsuits but we anticpate becoming an issue, is Juul uses a wick that burns. Check out the picture below.
Wicks burn in the Juul, giving it a hard hit. Smoke Juulers think this might be the cause “wheezy” coughs people are getting that use Juul a lot. During the research of this article we spoke with some regular vapers. One claimed that regular Juul use produces these wheezy coughs and their regular vape does not.
There are definitely valid health claims against Juul and we predict the wick burning will become an issue in the ongoing litigation. For these same reasons when it comes to THC products, we do not recommend the wicked G Pen Gio or Pax Era.
Did they misrepresent themselves as being a safe product?
Those are two questions that will have to be decided in court. Marketing is subjective. One person might roll their eyes at a commercial claim while another buys it. We do know that nicotine substitute products have existed for years, from gum to patches to inhalers, to help people quit cigarettes, and people have not been suddenly keeling over dying from those.
Nicotine without the cigarette has been assumed, even by doctors, to be safer compared to cigarettes. So even a claim to that effect by Juul could be defensible. Be that as it may, about their advertising claims. That warning cited testimony from a congressional hearing in which “a Juul representative speaking with students in a school presentation” made claims about Juul being safe. Whether or not that is true should come out in the litigation.
Marketing by Juul was directed at young people
Lawyers against Juul are claiming their advertising, branding, packaging and even USB charging are reasons Juul should be liable for getting young people addicted to nicotine. The FDA did dispatch a warning to Juul about its marketing practices being aimed at youth, which definitely helps the case.
Some of these claims might be valid, but the USB claim seems like a stretch. USB is simply a standard way to charge a product and nothing more. USB ports debuted in 1995, before the young people that use Juul were even born.
Addiction to Juul is claimed to be stronger than addiction to traditional tobacco cigarettes
There is some truth to this. Although anecdotal, based on our experience Juul is the only device that seems to stick over regular tobacco for a good portion of picky former smokers. This class action lawsuit is for addiction by minors, but tracing back cigarette smokers going to Juul leads to an interesting conclusion.
The same smokers we surveyed seen fully be satisfied by Juul also tried traditional e-cig devices before Juul was even available to purchase. Those only lasted so long and they were back to cigarettes. Juul vaping is the only thing strong enough to satisfy some smoker’s cravings.
One former smoker and now-Juuler who said regular e-cigs did not cut it, praised the Ploom, another product of Pax Labs. Ploom used real tobacco flower in pods that had traditional tobacco flavoring. I have tried it and it is a strong hit, but it didn’t make a lot of sales.
What we can conclude from older tobacco smokers and current Juul use
Juul has something extra to the hit that regular e-cigs are not delivering. The addiction appears at a minimum as strong as regular cigarettes. and more addictive than tradition e-cig vapes.
Class action lawsuit damages in Juul case: Better than others?
Class action lawsuits are known for being suits in which really only the attorneys win, but if Juul is found liable for actually causing a harmful addiction, the per capita payouts may be large. Ten dollars to you for some software that had a bug, millions to the attorneys who litigated the case in fees. This Juul class action may prove different.
Juul personal injury claims: More than just nicotine addiction
Lung damage, shortness of breath and a multitude of other health issues are hitting people who regularly use Juul products. Personal injury claims against Juul have now begun to pop up.
Burning wick might play a part
The wick burning mentioned above might be leading to injuries with Juul products. We spoke with a user who uses both cigarettes and traditional e-cigs, but tried Juul. They claimed they got a “different type of cough” they did not get from cigarettes and they had been smoking 20 years.
They also acknowledged that regular e-cigs were not strong enough to stop them from still smoking cigarettes.
Injury claims for Juul products likely to result in larger damages for individuals, not limited by age
A personal injury claim will generally pay out more to the victim than a class action. There’s no age requirement for injury claims. For help getting connected with a qualified injury attorney email us at email@example.com or fill out the contact form below.
Juul wrongful death action
This recent story on BuzzFeed states an 18-year-old vape user died. So his mom is going after Juul. BuzzFeed points straight at the exact same death toll that we have mentioned in connection to black market THC cartridges, implying that those deaths somehow validate the incrimination of Juul.
THen over at C|Net they have a timeline of vaping stories that mash Juul and THC cartridges together. It’s all under “vaping.” This goes on through one news outlet after another, making this an extremely frustrating story to follow.
Every other story the news media reports on this issue jumps back and forth between Juul, THC, nicotine, e-cigarettes, dabbing, CBD oil, and leaf tobacco, all in one paragraph.
This Washington Examiner reporter gets it right, citing a Mayo clinic study that pinpoints illicit THC vaping products:
“Combined with the prevalence of marijuana use in the patients, the likelihood that marijuana use in these cases are severely underreported, and that patients fessing up to vaping high concentrations of THC had more urgent injuries, it’s looking increasingly likely that black market, laced vape pods are in fact the culprit behind the recent outbreak.”
Yes, that is a likely scenario.
Are people dying from Juul already?
People are definitely already injured from Juul, but in our opinion likelihood of death to be low considering how new it is and that vaping deaths have been linked to illicit THC products that contain Vitamin E acetate. That’s not to say some have died from consistent heavy use, it’s possible.
The crossover is big between people that Juul and people that hit THC cartridges. That’s why were putting this article on our site. Still if you think someone you know died from Juul or THC cartridges, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County lawsuits against Juul
Juul is now facing lawsuits from two counties, King County in Washington State and Montgomery County in Maryland. We’ll discuss these differences between these two suits.
King County, WA Juul lawsuit: Targeting young people
King County, Washington is claiming in its lawsuit that Juul specifically targets young people. King5, a local King County news agency, reported that the lawsuit claims over 90% of nicotine and tobacco-related violations at schools were from vaping. Over 60% of the violations were just for Juul.
The lawsuit also alleges Juul is responsible for the vaping health crisis currently going on. While there maybe people individually harmed from using Juul as mentioned above, this seems like a mix up between what’s really causing more recent deaths, illegal THC cartridges containing Vitamin E acetate.
The claims regarding school use are similar to the class action claims mentioned above, that Juul targeted young people in its advertising.
Montgomery County, MD Juul lawsuit: Making it another class action
Montgomery County’s Juul lawsuit alleges many of the same contentions as King County’s. Basically that the county is spending too many resources dealing with Juul issue and they are targeting kids and disrupting schools.
The different part of this lawsuit is that, according to Patch, “Montgomery County is seeking certification of a nationwide class of plaintiffs that would include all counties or municipalities in the United States that have expended resources to address, or whose property has been affected by, underage use of JUUL products.”
Basically this means they are trying to turn their county lawsuit into a class action that multiple counties can join. Should this go through the damages would be large.
So are nicotine and Juul actually harmful?
Yes. Nicotine, all by itself as just the molecule, is heavily established as impacting health in a negative way all over. Never mind the effects of leaf tobacco itself, whether you smoke it or chew it. Remove all the other fillers in cigarettes, constituting some 7000 chemicals by the way. Nicotine, the molecule, is bad for you.
Juul delivering nicotine thereby makes it unsafe. Additional safety issues arise as well, such as the wick burning mentioned above.
Fake Juul products might be contributing to health concerns
Counterfeit Juul products have been around for a couple years now. Some actually copy the Juul brand, some are simply compatible with the battery. It’s possible poor quality hardware could be contributing to the epidemic. Stores are selling to underage users and it’s possible they are not always selling authentic Juul products.
Products on the black market don’t help the situation.
Can the Juul cause popcorn lung?
Not exactly, at least so far as we can prove.
“Popcorn lung” is the informal term for Bronchiolitis obliterans, a condition first reported in workers at a factory producing microwave popcorn who developed breathing issues through being exposed to the buttery flavoring agent. The culprit chemical was diacetyl. Diacetyl is a naturally-occurring organic compound formed in butter and other dairy products. It’s widely used in the food industry for butter flavors, including butterscotch candy.
Diacetyl has been found in some flavored e-cigarette products, but that’s all we know so far. A 2016 study sampled 51 e-cigarette cartridges and found diacetyl in 39 of them. What we don’t know: Whether that’s at high enough levels to trigger popcorn lung, whether vaping can activate diacetyl enough to be harmful, or what brands or black market “brands” were carrying diacetyl.
Is Juul going out of business?
Juul still appears to be in business for the present, however, Juul is discontinuing most of its flavored nicotine pods for its e-cigarettes in retail stores, at least temporarily. This development happens on the heels of FDA demands that Juul curtail its use by teens.
Are JUULs FDA approved?
No, they are not. The closest the Food and Drug Administration has come to approving e-cigarettes previously is to set a deadline of the year 2022 for e-cigarette makers to submit their products for approval. Now the FDA has stepped up this time window to just ten months from now.
It wasn’t until 2016 that the FDA was granted jurisdiction over e-cigarette products at all. There might be a common misconception out there that any consumable product for sale in the US must be FDA-approved, but that is far from the case. For example, the FDA was not granted jurisdiction over tobacco products until 2009, with the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
Just to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, here is the FDA’s Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D., sharing his thoughts on e-cigarette products. Quote: “Since late 2016, FDA has worked at maximal speed to regulate this rapidly evolving class of new tobacco products, but our policies and procedures in this area are still evolving.”
Can you get cancer from vaping?
It should be really easy to answer this. Do e-cigarette vapes contain known carcinogens? The scientific and medical community are surprisingly mute on this exact question. For nicotine, “many studies have consistently demonstrated its carcinogenic potential,” as we linked to above, but there’s a difference between that and a known carcinogen.
An example of known carcinogens would be polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in cigarette smoke. This is more of a matter of burning a plant – or “thermal decomposition of organic matter,” rather than any chemical found in vapes. You can get polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from any fire set upon any organic material, even burning wooden logs in your fireplace. So far, inhaling any vaporized product is suspected, even highly indicated, of causing cancer. but it is just too soon to be 100% certain either way.
For the record, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons do not occur in vaporization, because you are not burning anything. But that doesn’t rule out the thousands of other chemicals and organic compounds we’re talking about when we say “vaping.”
Do you Juul? You might be entitled to compensation
Do you use Juul now or did before? Would you qualify for one of these lawsuits? Give us an email at email@example.com and we will connect you with someone who can help. We also open the floor to deliberation in the comments below or our forums.