A Comprehensive Overview of E-cigarettes Lawsuits

E-cigarettes have grown popular in recent years as healthier alternatives to traditional cigarettes. However, recent research and events have shown that vaping is still dangerous to human health. 

For instance, e-cigarettes can result in severe medical conditions, such as strokes, lung infections, and seizures. 

They can also worsen pre-existing conditions, such as asthma. In worst-case scenarios, vaping can lead to a victim’s death.

A Comprehensive Overview of E-cigarettes Lawsuits

E-cigarettes have grown popular in recent years as healthier alternatives to traditional cigarettes. However, recent research and events have shown that vaping is still dangerous to human health. 

For instance, e-cigarettes can result in severe medical conditions, such as strokes, lung infections, and seizures. 

They can also worsen pre-existing conditions, such as asthma. In worst-case scenarios, vaping can lead to a victim’s death. 

Studies have also revealed that e-cigarettes contain high concentrations of nicotine. Thus, most people who use them eventually suffer from nicotine addictions. Furthermore, there have been cases of injuries due to battery explosions in these cigarettes.

E-cigarette manufacturers such as JUUL Labs have targeted teenagers in their marketing campaigns. 

These events have led to an increase in e-cigarette lawsuits against these harmful product manufacturers across the US. 

Victims of e-cigarettes are seeking compensation for: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Medical bills 
  • Lost wages while they were recovering from sustained injuries 

Affected individuals claim e-cigarette manufacturers didn’t warn consumers about the potential risks of their products. Parents have also filed suits against vaping companies for marketing their products to children.

E-cigarette Lawsuit Information: Quick Facts

  • A woman in California received a $2 million compensation from her e-cigarette lawsuit in 2015. 
  • JULL Labs is America’s most popular e-cigarette company and the primary target of most e-cigarette lawsuits. 
  • Parents of teenagers who have filed e-cigarette lawsuits claim their children developed severe health conditions (seizures and wheezing) and nicotine addictions because of e-cigarettes. 
  • JUUL Labs agreed to pay $40 million in settlement fees for failing to warn about the dangers of vaping. 
  • JUUL Labs’ CEO stepped down on September 25, 2019. He was replaced by an executive from Altria. 
  • Charles Wilcoxen, a Washington police officer, filed an e-cigarette lawsuit after coming down with vaping-related lipoid pneumonia.
  • Several states in the US, including Michigan, Massachusetts, and New York, have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. 
  • JUUL Labs is the target of a class action by 13 e-cigarette users, who claim the nicotine percentage in the company’s products is 20% higher than what is on its product labels. 
  • New York’s ex-mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has pledged $160 million for the next three years to facilitate the ban on flavored vapes.

What Does Vaping Mean?

Vaping refers to e-cigarette use. An e-cigarette is a battery-powered cigarette that serves as an alternative to conventional tobacco cigarettes. 

It initially hit the US in 2007 but has grown popular in the last few years. 

While some e-cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes, others typically resemble USB drives or pens.

Is Vaping Healthy?

Recent studies and events have shown that e-cigarette smoking is unhealthy for users. E-cigarettes typically come with a cartridge that contains “vape juice.” 

When heated, this vape juice becomes an aerosol that users can inhale. Several health conditions tied to vaping are directly linked to this gas.

While e-cigarette manufacturers touted vaping as an alternative to traditional cigarettes, recent evidence has proven otherwise. Vaping-related infections have also shown a disturbingly rapid progression rate.

Vape-related Injuries

Vaping results in irreversible and life-threatening lung diseases, strokes, and seizures. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has attributed several deaths since 2019 to vape-related pulmonary conditions. 

While the specific cause of death remains unknown to medical experts, recent studies suggest it could be a strain of lipoid pneumonia which involves fat molecules finding their way into the lungs. 

Further research has discovered that e-cigarettes may contain vitamin E acetate – a compound that can result in acquired respiratory distress syndrome, lung infections, and death in many cases. 

The CDC has termed the increase in vape-related diseases an “outbreak,” and the agency continues to investigate the causes to prevent further deaths.

Vape-related Lung Diseases

E-cigarettes contain dangerous substances that are harmful to the lungs. The CDC has recorded several deadly lung conditions traced back to e-cigarette use in America. 

The National Public Radio (NPR) reports that doctors told an 18-year-old who suffered from respiratory issues that he had a 70-year-old’s lungs because of e-cigarette use. 

Some of the common lung conditions vape users may experience include: 

  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Bronchial pneumonia
  • Popcorn lung
  • Bleeding in the lung
  • Pneumonia
  • Lung failure
  • Collapsed lung
  • Lung infection

Strokes and Seizures From E-cigarette Use

The FDA has reported that nicotine toxicity can lead to seizures. This agency recorded about 130 seizure cases due to vaping in 2019. 

A lawsuit filed by Erin and Jared NesSmith in April 2019 reveals how their 14-year-old daughter suffered from seizures after she started using e-cigarettes from JUUL Labs. 

She was unaware of the product’s notice content and only used them because of their fruity flavor. 

Research by the International Stroke Conference in 2019 showcased vaping as one of the lifestyle habits with a higher probability of stroke. 

To corroborate this research, several teens and adults have suffered from strokes and seizures recently because of vaping. 

JUUL Labs, which accounts for the highest percentage of the market share of e-cigarette companies, has faced significant backlash for its role in the popularity of e-cigarettes. JUUL Labs markets its vape products as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes for smokers. 

However, the health dangers of e-cigarettes are just as life-threatening as conventional tobacco. 

JUUL Labs commenced its vaping advertisements with a youth-centered campaign tagged “vaporized.” 

With the campaign focused primarily on the company’s underaged online audience, parents have attacked JUUL for encouraging the current craze for vape products among youngsters.

E-cigarette Battery Explosion Accidents

Besides the health conditions and accidents attached to vape products, there have been several battery explosions due to defective batteries in e-cigarettes. 

These explosions have led to several fatal injuries among e-cigarette users. 

Some of the most common bodily wounds include: 

  • Scarring
  • Broken bones
  • Severe burns
  • Loss of bodily organs, such as eyes and teeth 
  • Deep cuts 
  • Death 

In 2019, CNN reported a case of a teenager who suffered from a broken jaw and teeth loss after a vape pen blew up in his mouth. 

Other E-cigarette-related Illnesses

  1. Medical studies have also revealed that e-cigarettes are a significant cause of several other illnesses aside from lung conditions, strokes, and seizures. 

    Some of the most common infections include: 

    • Brain development conditions
    • Respiratory illnesses 
    • Bronchitis
    • Heart problems 
    • Bronchitis obliterans

Nicotine Addictions

According to a report from the US surgeon general, one JUULpod contains as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes. 

Interestingly, preceding vape products from JUUL Labs held five times more nicotine than normal cigarettes.  

Products that contain nicotine are addictive. However, e-cigarettes contain e-liquids that the body absorbs more easily.  

This factor makes it stress-free for vape users to take in higher nicotine concentrations in shorter periods than conventional smokers.

Toxic Chemicals in E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes contain several other toxic substances other than nicotine. 

Some of these toxic substances include: 

  • Heavy metals 
  • Ultrafine particles 
  • Diacetyl 
  • Volatile organic compounds

Medical studies are ongoing to uncover the links between these chemicals and the lung illnesses associated with vaping.

JUUL Labs and Underaged Vape Users

A 2018 study by the CDC reported that over 20% of high school students used e-cigarettes. 

In 2011, this figure was at 1.5%. 

The alarming increase in the number of vape product users is a direct reflection of the influence of JUUL Labs on the vape industry. 

Although the company claims to create its products for adults who want to quit smoking, teens still purchase and use e-cigarettes more than JUUL’s target demographic. 

This fact isn’t surprising as the e-cigarette manufacturer has often run youth-centered advertising campaigns. 

Furthermore, the e-liquids in JUUL’s products come in fruity flavors, while the cigarettes feature sleek USB drive designs. Thus, teens are not only attracted to the sweet flavors, but a design that makes the e-cigarettes easy to conceal from caregivers. 

JUUL Labs has made moves to restrict minors from using its e-cigarettes, such as taking down several of its social media pages. 

However, most of its patronage are from underaged users. 

Interestingly, several of these consumers have become addicts and will continue to buy these vape products for years. 

Based on a 2018 study of over 20,000 middle and high school children by the CDC, the number of teens that use vape products includes:

  • 4.8% of middle school girls 
  • 5.1% of middle school boys 
  • 18.8% of high school girls
  • 22.6% of high school boys

Yale medicine reports that these teenagers are at higher risk of the health dangers of vaping because the human brain keeps developing till age 25. 

Status of E-cigarette Litigations

As of July 2015, victims of e-cigarettes had filed over 3,900 JUUL lawsuits across the US, all consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) — MDL-2913. 

US lawyers expect the number of cases to grow in the coming months. 

These lawsuits contain class actions and individual personal injury litigations. 

Some of these lawsuits also claim the company targets minors in its advertising. 

However, JUUL Labs denies this, saying it has never targeted a youthful audience and does not intend for non-nicotine users to purchase its cigarettes. 

JUUL also claims these lawsuits contain unfounded allegations without merit, and the victims have copied and pasted them from other suits that the company has contested within the last year. 

Nonetheless, there has been no trial schedule for the mass lawsuits against JUUL Labs. 

Also, it’s not just individuals who are suing JUUL Labs for marketing its cigarettes to youths. Several states in the US have also sued JUUL for its role in e-cigarette usage among teens and children. 

In June 2021, a state lawsuit saw the company agree to pay a $40 million settlement to North Carolina. 

Nine other states in the United States have also filed lawsuits against JUUL Labs.

Lawsuit Claims Against JUUL Labs

Some of the claims against JUUL Labs include: 

  • The company targets minors in its advertising
  • JUUL did not warn about the potency of its nicotine e-cigarettes compared to traditional cigarettes
  • E-cigarettes from JUUL contain defective and dangerous ingredients 

Several of the lawsuits leveled against JUUL preceded the widespread lung conditions and fatalities in 2019. 

Big Tobacco Brands Sued Alongside JUUL Labs

Victims of e-cigarette products from JUUL Labs named other revered tobacco brands, such as Altria and Philip Morris, in their lawsuits. 

Altria owns 35% of JUUL Labs. 

As e-cigarette lawsuits grow in the US in the coming months, victims may include other vape manufacturers related to JUUL and other tobacco companies. 

Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco, which market Blu e-cigs and Vype, respectively, may soon find themselves in the middle of these legal battles. 

That said, e-cigarette litigations are in their early days, and there has been no significant verdict or settlement.

Filing a JUUL E-cigarette Litigation

If you or a loved one has been a victim of injuries or medical conditions due to prolonged e-cigarette use, an e-cigarette lawsuit is your best bet at getting a fair settlement. 

However, you’ll need a lawyer to boost your chances of success. 

An e-cigarette litigation will typically involve filling out a complaint that details your injuries/medical illnesses and how JUUL or any other vape producer is at fault for your condition. 

Some other legal procedures will also be a part of your filing. 

Since legal proceedings can be quite complex and any mistakes in your suit will likely affect the possibilities of compensation, hiring a lawyer is vital as they offer the expertise you need to navigate the US justice system. 

Your attorney will also counsel you on the variation of e-cigarette lawsuit to file: wrongful death, class action, or personal injury. 

Will E-cigarette Litigations Lead to Trial or Settlement?

An e-cigarette case can either go to trial, or settlement can be out-of-court. An out-of-court settlement typically involves a settlement fee agreed upon by both parties. Lawyers often prefer this alternative because it’s faster than a trial. 

Regardless, victims may earn more money in trials. 

Trials involve both parties (plaintiff and defendant) presenting their claims before a jury and a judge. This option is riskier because you may not have the favor of the jury, and lose compensation. 

Plus, if you win during the trial, the firm might appeal the court verdict, and you’ll end up with nothing.

See If You Can File

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