JUUL Lawsuits: E-Cigarettes and Health Problems

young boy playing games and smoking juul

Despite manufacturer statements that e-cigarette products like JUUL are healthier for users than regular cigarettes, recent news stories, lawsuits, and medical studies have begun to seriously question these claims. While politicians push for a JUUL recall, revelations of lung disease and death have left the manufacturer facing major JUUL lawsuit cases.

What Is JUUL?

JUUL is an electronic cigarette product that was first introduced to consumers around 2017 after its manufacturer, JUUL Labs, split off from Pax Labs. By the end of that year, JUUL had become the most popular e-cigarette in the United States.¹

The JUUL device heats up a single-use cartridge containing oils and nicotine salts, vaporizing it for inhalation. The primary claim of the product was that it could help smokers transition away from the smoke and tar of regular cigarettes by receiving their nicotine in a non-combustible form. However, the powerful nicotine content of the cartridges makes it just as addictive—a single cartridge has roughly the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.²

Users of JUUL Products Allege Serious Health Problems

Not only are JUUL e-cigarette products just as addictive as any other nicotine-containing product, but they’ve also been linked to numerous major health concerns. The following are just a few examples of worrisome findings from doctors and researchers.

woman holding model of lungs
  • In a 2019 case report and literature review, researchers found that JUUL pods were the only e-cigarette product with nicotine and flavor chemical content that was toxic to cells in laboratory tests.³
  • Many cases have suggested an association between vaping and the sudden collapse of lung tissue without any known lung disease or apparent injury.⁴ This has also been seen in cigarette smokers, so the link to vaping suggests that e-cigs are not much safer by comparison.
  • For teens and young adults whose brains are still growing and changing, the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General warns that JUUL may have long-lasting or permanent effects on brain development and neurological health.

Does JUUL Cause Popcorn Lung?

Many suspect a link between JUUL and popcorn lung, a very serious disease. Known in medicine as bronchiolitis obliterans, popcorn lung is a condition that damages tiny airways in the lungs and creates chronic symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. Its name comes from the fact that individuals working in microwave popcorn factories developed the condition after breathing in diacetyl, the chemical that gave the product its buttery flavor.

To address the potentially life-threatening epidemic, popcorn manufacturers eliminated the use of diacetyl. Now, however, diacetyl is being used for—you guessed it—e-cigarette products like JUUL. The fact that these products are designed specifically to be inhaled makes the presence of diacetyl in JUUL especially concerning.

While a causal link between popcorn lung and JUUL has not been confirmed, the CDC reports more than 200 cases of popcorn lung with a suspected association with vaping.⁵

The Impacts on Victims and Their Loved Ones

Lung disease and other health problems related to JUUL e-cigarettes can leave individuals and their families struggling with uncomfortable physical symptoms, emotional distress, mounting medical bills, and more. In the very worst of cases, total lung collapse or other serious complications can leave families mourning a sudden, premature death.

The potential health risks of vaping with JUUL make it difficult to imagine how the company can continue to manufacture these products without being held accountable for the harm they’ve failed to warn users about.

Victims Are Holding the Company Accountable with Lawsuits

A woman exhaling smoke.

Wrongful death and lung damage-related suits have been filed against JUUL, alleging that their products led to the deterioration and/or death of otherwise healthy individuals. In October 2019, the very first wrongful death suit was brought by the mother of 18-year-old Daniel Wakefield. By age 16, he had been hospitalized with lung complications and was intensely addicted to JUUL. At 18, he was found dead with no other explanation. According to his parents, JUUL was the only change in his life.⁶

Another 18-year-old, Adam Hergenreder, has filed a suit alleging that JUUL is responsible for his severe lung damage. According to doctors, his lungs are now like those of a 70-year-old. The addictive nature of the JUUL pods, Hergenreder says, led him to vape up to a pod and a half every two days—equal to multiple packs of cigarettes.⁷

Illegal Marketing to Youths

JUUL products have also been at the center of controversy surrounding marketing to younger consumers. When JUUL e-cigarettes first started being advertised around 2017-2018, their print and television ads featured young consumers having a good time.

Lawsuits alleged that this kind of marketing, combined with sleek designs claimed to be safer than cigarettes, glamorized e-cigarette use and led to a rise in teen vaping. In October 2019, the company reached a settlement in which they agreed to restrict advertising their products to minors.⁸

Health Issues After Vaping? You May Have a Case for an E-Cigarette Lawsuit

Have you developed symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or chest pain? Has your doctor diagnosed you with a serious condition like popcorn lung? You may be owed significant compensation by the makers of JUUL e-cigarette products.

Whether or not you have a case for a JUUL class action lawsuit will depend on a variety of factors, like your condition, your vaping history, and the evidence you have to show the link between them. The best way to know if you’ve got a good case for a lawsuit is to talk with an experienced lawyer like those at Saunders & Walker, P.A.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Expert Product Liability Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has developed serious lung damage or died after vaping with JUUL e-cigarettes, we stand ready to help you take the company responsible to task. Contact us online or call (727) 579-4500 to schedule your free initial case review today.  


  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2705175
  2. https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/what-juul
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6732835/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213576619302647
  5. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20190830/cdc-says-dont-vape-as-lung-injury-cases-rise#1
  6. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/claudiakoerner/juul-vaping-death-wrongful-death-lawsuit-nicotine
  7. https://news.wttw.com/2019/09/13/gurnee-teen-severe-lung-damage-files-lawsuit-juul-labs
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/17/juul-youth-vaping-advertising-agreement-settlement