Even with all the news coverage about the health risks associated with vaping, in just three short years, the number of teens who reported vaping nicotine in the past month has more than doubled. The Journal of the American Medical Association on 11/5/19 reported that 28% of high schoolers and 11% of middle schoolers reported vaping in the last month.

Read Smith & Johnson Attorney Tim Smith’s write up about the issue in the Legal Examiner:

Teen nicotine vaping has become so prevalent in recent years that the Food and Drug Administration has called it an “epidemic.” An estimated 5.3 million teens use e-cigarettes, according to the study.

In an effort to lower the rates of teen vaping, the FDA is considering banning most flavors. The e-cigarette giant JUUL, who currently holds 59% of the market share, stopped selling some of its flavors just last month. But, it continues to sell tobacco, menthol and mint flavors.

“For young people, this is of particular concern,” the study’s authors wrote, “because it could promote … nicotine dependence, making it easier to initiate and proceed to regular e-cigarette use or transition to cigarette or other combustible tobacco product use.” – NPR

Increasing teen use is causing increasing concern for their health. Dr. John Carl, MD, a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic explains:

“We know a lot of the short-term effects [on the lungs],” Dr. Carl says, explaining that vaping increases inflammation in the lungs. Vaping can also paralyze cilia, the “hair-like” projections in the airways of the lungs that remove microbes and debris, says Dr. Carl. When those cilia become paralyzed, they are rendered unable to do their job protecting the lungs, and this increases your risk of infection, like pneumonia. (Both lipoid pneumonia, a lung infection caused by the presence of lipids or fats in the lungs; and chemical pneumonia, a lung infection caused by inhalation of chemicals, have been linked to vaping.)

JUUL has know about these health concerns for years but has done little to educate their users as to the risks. As deaths and serious injuries to users respiratory systems continue to increase, so have the number of lawsuits filed against JUUL for its misleading marketing and failure to warn. On November 6th, Montgomery County Pennsylvania district attorney Kevin Steele filed a lawsuit against JUUL alleging illegal, predatory business practices that target teens.

“This lawsuit is necessary to protect the health and well-being of Montgomery County residents, most importantly, impressionable and vulnerable minors who have been targeted by JUUL, turning them into nicotine addicts to keep them coming back for the company’s own monetary gain,” Steele said in a statement. “We intend to hold the defendants accountable for their misconduct that has unquestionably created and perpetuated a widespread public health crisis with devastating consequences. We seek to put a halt to JUUL’s egregious sales and marketing tactics, the illegal sales to minors by retailers in our county and demand they remediate the harm their conduct has caused in our communities.” – CBS

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania health officials confirmed one person died in the state related to vaping. The state says there are nine confirmed and 12 probable cases of vaping-related lung illnesses and are investigating 63 additional cases. In addition to these state court cases, we are seeing a rise in Federal cases as well.

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