Smith & Johnson was proud to assist Dann’s House here in Traverse City in the purchase of a duplex that can service 7 residents. Dann’s House is a nonprofit that provides supportive housing for people who have experienced chronic homelessness and also suffer from persistent, severe Alcohol Use Disorder. Dann’s House doesn’t just provide a roof over people’s heads — it helps them apply for benefits and provides support for overcoming alcohol addictions. Ken Petterson, a partner at Smith & Johnson, provided the pro bono legal services to assist in the purchase and closing on the property in question. Smith & Johnson is proud of the time our attorneys donate to this community through pro bono services and participating as Directors on various nonprofit boards.

There is an increasing consensus among experts that e-cigarettes, contrary to their marketing tactics, are not safer than traditional tobacco products. A long-term study reported in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine on December 16th shows an increased risk of developing chronic lung disease amongst vape users. For years, companies like JUUL have marketed their e-cigarette as safer, but Robert Tarran, a professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine is on record stating, “everything I’ve seen on data in the lungs suggests e-cigarettes are not safer”.

This study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine is the first study on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes; its findings provide a clear link between e-cigarette use and chronic lung disease. The study involved 32,000 adults in the United States. None of them had any sign of lung disease when the study began in 2013, but by 2016, investigators found that people who used e-cigarettes were 30% more likely to have developed a chronic lung disease, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

Other scientists in the field have applauded the work in this recent long term study re: vaping. “I think it’s a critically important paper,” says Harvard University professor of public health Joseph Allen. “We don’t have any information as of now on the potential long-term impacts of e-cigarettes on respiratory health.” Allen says the results represent a first grim step toward producing that information — and they provide a sad confirmation of what researchers already suspected: that e-cigarette use has a dramatic long-term effect on lung health.

“The reality is, millions of e-cigarette users are unwitting participants in an experiment,” Allen says, “and we don’t yet know the results.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, as of December 10, 2019, there have been 2,409 documented cases of EVALI [e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury] and 52 deaths, which have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Add to this over 120 reports of vaping induced seizures and the evidence begins to mount as it relates to the health risks associated with vaping. The evidence flies in the face of the marketing campaigns of JUUL who have consistently touted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

There are two very concerning trends in vaping — rising use among teens and rising injury and death according to the Center for Disease Control [CDC]. These two vaping related data points are pointing toward the front end of what may become an epidemic. As of December 10, 2019, the CDC has documented a total of 2,409 hospitalizations related to vaping and confirmed 52 vaping-related deaths.

student vaping graph

At the same time, the National Youth Tobacco survey reports that since 2016, the percentage of U.S. high school students using e-cigarettes has more than doubled from 11.3% to 27.5%.

This massive increase in use by teens tracks the rise in popularity of JUUL brand of e-cigarettes. JUUL started with very little market share in 2016, but they ramped up their marketing campaigns to target teens. By the end of 2018, they had grabbed over 42% of the e-cigarette market share.

JUUL growthThe increase in vaping use amongst teens is leading to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. The question is: “what is the underlying cause”? According to Science News, federal health officials have identified a possible culprit: vitamin E acetate, which is added to vaping products as a thickening agent.

What is becoming very clear is that we are seeing a drastic increase of the number of young and otherwise healthy individuals being hospitalized across the country due to vaping.

“While of course, these lung injuries related to vaping are very serious, it really is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Susan Walley, a pediatrician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. “The millions of kids who are using e-cigarettes now… what’s going to happen to all those kids in 10 years?”

It is too early to tell what will happen to all these kids in 10 years, but the early data is clearly pointing to the beginning of an epidemic of serious health consequences related to the increasing use of these dangerous products.

These two data points regarding increasing use combined with increasing injury and death amongst JUUL users is a stark contrast against the marketing campaigns of JUUL, who have touted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation against JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this litigation re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

Smith & Johnson is saddened to announce the passing of partner Allen Anderson.

Allen was known for both his keen legal intellect and his immeasurable kindness. He was a lover of both dogs and horses, and cherished by all of his friends both here in the States and abroad. He was fond of three piece suits and capped toe cowboy boots – a fashion statement rarely seen north of the Mason-Dixon Line. He enjoyed snow plowing his neighborhood drive in his 3/4 ton crew cab as much as he enjoyed reading and drafting articulate legal briefs for his clients. His days at the firm were spent solving legal problems for his clients and drinking the sublime coffee brewed across the street from the office at Frenchies Famous, which were often delivered by Frenchy himself.

We couldn’t have asked for a better partner or friend than Allen. Please read his obituary and share in remembrance. He was one of a kind and is already missed more than we can begin to describe.

On September 18th, the Food and Drug Administration reprimanded JUUL for their false marketing around e-cigarettes being a safer alternative to cigarettes. The FDA ordered JUUL to “stop making unproven claims for its products” and “upped its scrutiny of a number of key aspects of Juul’s business, telling the company to turn over documents on its marketing, educational programs and nicotine formula” – NBC News

As reported by Smith & Johnson Attorney Tim Smith in the Legal Examiner:

Researches from Penn State University College of Medicine found that JUUL users’ blood nicotine concentrations were “almost three times as high as most of the e-cigarette users we previously studied,” said study first author Jessica Yingst, a research project manager. The study found that JUUL users “had higher levels of nicotine dependence than more than 3,000 long-term users of other e-cigarettes, according to the study.”

Study co-author Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences, noted: “In previous studies, we found that e-cigarette users were less addicted than smokers. However, the high nicotine delivery of the product and the scores on this study suggest that Juul is probably as addictive as cigarettes.”

These findings are particularly problematic given JUUL’s targeted marketing to youth.

The September 18th FDA warning letter discusses JUUL’s problematic history of marketing to youth and “highlights an incident recounted by two New York high school students during a congressional hearing in July. The students said a representative of Juul was invited to address the school as part of an assembly on mental health and addiction issues. During the presentation, the students said the representative told them the company’s product was “totally safe.” The representative also showed students a Juul device and claimed the FDA “was about to come out and it was 99 percent safer than cigarettes.”” – NBC News

This reprimand from the FDA comes right on the heels of the first double lung transplant surgery on a 17 year old male here in Michigan. The doctor who performed the surgery stated that vaping was what destroyed the young man’s lungs and necessitated the transplant.

JUUL is now facing a series of lawsuits across the country as a direct result of their deceptive marketing and the dangerous side effects of their products which they intentionally hid from consumers.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

From Smith & Johnsons Attorney Tim Smith in Legal Examiner:

In April, the FDA announced that it was investigating 32 reports of people suffering seizures after vaping. Since then, 92 more reports were made to that agency. Seizures were reported by first time users and experienced e-cigarette users. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that he expected more reports of seizures following the initial report, “but 92 additional reports over that short period of time is concerning”.

“What stands out in the FDA’s list of neurological cases is the relative youth of the subjects, the lack of any prior seizure history, and their exposure to much higher levels of nicotine than with products like cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Last April, the agency said that it had received reports of seizures occurring in first-time e-cigarette users as well as in those with more experience, and some have occurred “after a few puffs or up to one day after use.”

But what is the connection been vaping and seizures?

“In a February 18 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives—a peer-reviewed open-access journal published monthly with support from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences—researchers at Johns Hopkins University analyzed concentrations in e-cigarette liquid and aerosol samples in an effort to investigate whether metals from e-cigarette heating coils were present in reservoir tanks or the aerosol generated by the coils. They found lead, chromium, nickel, manganese, and arsenic in 56 samples of e-cigarettes from daily users, and while minimal amounts were detected in refilling dispenser fluids, much larger levels were in liquids exposed to the devices’ coils.” “It is well established that lead, arsenic, and manganese are neurotoxicants that can cause a range of problems, from headaches, drowsiness, and confusion, to seizures, as well as other life-threatening complications, depending on the dose and the person’s susceptibility,” said Ana María Rule, PhD, an assistant professor and director of the Exposure Assessment Lab at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, who was part of the Johns Hopkins research team.”

“We found lead in 94 percent and manganese in 64 percent of aerosol samples; and half of the samples exceeded the [federal] ambient air quality standard for lead,” she told Neurology Today.

According to the Center for Disease Control, as of November 5, 2019, there have been 2,051 documented cases of EVALI [e-cigarette or vaping, product use associated lung injury] and 39 deaths which have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Add to this over 120 reports of vaping induced seizures and the evidence begins to mount as to the health risks associated with vaping. The evidence flies in the face of the marketing campaigns of JUUL who have touted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

Authored by Attorney Tim Smith

Smith & Johnson, Attorneys PC is proud of their representation of Wexford County in the Federal Municipal Opioid Litigation.

The question facing Wexford County tomorrow evening is whether or not to opt in to the litigation’s Negotiation Class in an effort to reach a global settlement on behalf of all municipalities.

Smith & Johnson is working diligently with Administrator Janet Koch and the Board of Commissioners to secure reimbursement of Wexford County taxpayer monies spent fighting the opioid epidemic that these companies created in our backyard.

This important litigation has already seen a change in the way these opioid manufacturers and distributors are doing business which will benefit not only the county, but the health of each and every citizen of Wexford in the long run.

We will continue the fight in Federal Court on behalf of Wexford and the 35 other municipalities we represent throughout Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

More from Cadillac News.

The Henry Ford Hospital was recently the first to complete a double lung transplant as a result of a vaping induced lung injury.

As reported by Smith and Johnson Attorney Tim Smith in the Legal Examiner:

Dr. Hassan Nemeh, the Henry Ford Hospital surgeon who led the first double lung transplant on a teenager whose lungs were damaged by vaping, said that the damage to the teen patients lungs was unlike anything he had ever seen.

“What I saw in his lungs is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I’ve been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” Nemeh, the Surgical Director of Thoracic Organ Transplant at Henry Ford Hospital, said at a press conference Tuesday, according to the New York Times.

“This is an evil I haven’t faced before,” he added.

Dr. Nemeh said that the CT scans of the teens lungs before the surgery showed no sign of the lungs because they were devoid of air. He said the teens faced “imminent death” had he not receive the double lung transplant.

“This is a preventable tragedy,” Nemeh said, per a news release from the hospital. “And we have so much respect for this family for allowing us to share their pain to prevent the same from happening to others. The damage that these vapes do to people’s lungs is irreversible. Please think of that – and tell your children to think of that.”

The family said that their son went from a perfectly healthy 16 year old to waking up intubated with two new lungs. Their s

on was originally hospitalized on September 15 with what appeared to be pneumonia. His condition rapidly deteriorated and doctors had to intubate him a week later on September 12th. He was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Michigan and placed on a ECMO [Extracoporeal membrane oxygenation] device which provided support to his lungs. He condition continued to worsen and the double lung transplant was his only option.

“The lung damage due to vaping was so severe – and he was so close to death – that he immediately shot to the top of the transplant waiting list, which ultimately led to the successful transplant on Oct. 15, 2019,” Henry Ford Hospital said in its release.

Henry Ford Hospital, in their press release regarding the surgery, said that vaping has become an epidemic among youth in the United States. They referenced a recent survey of over 10,000 high school and middle school students showing that 28% of high school students and 11% of middle school students self-reported ongoing use of e-cigarettes. “We are just beginning to see the enormous health consequences jeopardizing the youth in our country.”

Henry Ford Hospital provided resources in that same press release for people addicted to vaping or families with children who vape. Resources can be found here.

JUUL hid the dangers of these e-cigarettes from the public and is now facing a series of lawsuits filed across the country.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

 

What parents should know about vaping from Legal Examiner:

In a recent article from Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher discussed her research on young people’s perceptions of vaping products.

Dr. Halpern-Felsher explained that JUUL e-cigarettes contain over 41 milligrams of nicotine per pod which is the nicotine equivalent of 1 and a half to two packs of cigarettes. She also explained that JUUL uses a salt based nicotine which produces a less painful “throat hit” than what is inhaled from a combustible cigarette. Teens find it easier to smoke and become addicted to it more quickly.

Dr. Halpern-Felsher commented on JUUL’s marketing campaign which creates a false sense of safety among teens that an e-cigarette is a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. It is clear this is not that case, as the Center for Disease Control has now documented nearly 3 dozen deaths nationwide directly associated with vaping.

Standford University is providing tools for parents, educators and health care providers to address the dangers of vaping with teens. “We really try to illuminate the role that marketing plays in getting kids to use nicotine products. We want young people to understand that they’re being manipulated by manufacturers.”

Dr. Halpern-Felsher closes the interview and encourages parents to talk with their teens re: vaping: Talk to your sons and daughters using open-ended questions. You can say, “I read an article about vaping products. I’m curious: What do you know about these?” Then you can share your concerns: “If you’re using these products, I want to understand so I can get you some help. I’m not going to be mad.” You can also talk with your kids about how to refuse, helping them plan responses so that they feel ready to say no.

With the vaping death toll rising nationally, it is critical that parents combat the misleading marketing of JUUL and have very frank talks with their children. Litigation has already commenced against JUUL filed by users who have been injured and even families of those that have died.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

Authored by Attorney Tim Smith

Join us in congratulating Smith & Johnson Attorney Tim Smith for his selection for inclusion in The National Trial Lawyers List of Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Michigan.

From the Press Release:

The National Trial Lawyers is pleased to announce that Timothy Smith of Smith & Johnson Attorneys, P.C., in Traverse City has been selected for inclusion into its Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Michigan, an honor given to only a select group of lawyers for their achievements in the field. With his selection, Mr. Smith has proven that he exemplifies superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a trial lawyer.

The National Trial Lawyers is a professional organization comprised of the nation’s premier trial lawyers. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research. The result is a credible and comprehensive list of the most outstanding trial lawyers in the country.

Membership into the Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers is by invitation only and is limited to the top 100 attorneys in each state or region who have demonstrated excellence and have achieved outstanding results in their careers in either civil plaintiff or criminal defense law. The National Trial Lawyers provides essential legal news, information, and continuing education to trial lawyers across the United States.

To learn more about The National Trial Lawyers, please visit: http://thenationaltriallawyers.org/.

To visit Tim Smith’s profile on The National Trail Lawers.com, please visit: www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/profile-view/Timothy/Smith/23315/