Since its inception in 2015, Silicon Valley company Juul has managed to dominate the vaping market. However, the startup has been the subject of action from the FDA, following evidence linking their dangerous products to hospitalizations and death and concern that the company has been targeting youths. If you or a loved one is a victim of vaping illness, now may be the time to consider enlisting the help of a product liability lawyer.
More Youths Are Vaping Now Than Ever Before
Vaping among teens is now a popular trend, but how did this happen? Stanford Research’s recent white paper release reveals some shocking information with regard to Juul’s marketing campaigns from their 2015 launch to the fall of 2018.
Although the company adamantly denied targeting teens in its marketing campaigns, the white paper revealed that not only did an overwhelming majority of Juul ads target youth, but they employed the same tactics used by tobacco companies to do so.
As a result, the use of Juul products has skyrocketed among high-schoolers. Unfortunately, so have the number of vaping illness cases; so much so, that it has now become a public health crisis. Much like medical product device liability cases over the past few years, people are now seeking legal help for their vaping illnesses.
Downplaying the Dangers
Juul’s product is very discreet, looking just like a USB or flash drive. This makes it easy for teens to hide. It also boasts a variety of fruity flavors, which are easily associated with something healthy. Youth surveyed during the summer of 2018 also expressed that they liked Juul products because they were able to get a “buzz” from the e-cigarette.
The fact that their friends used Juul products was also a big reason that almost half of surveyed teens starting using them. Juul’s price point is another aspect of its popularity among the teen set; the device itself can cost up to $50, and a 4-pack of Juul “pods” is only $15, an amount far less than the $10 or more being charged for a pack of cigarettes.
Juul Used Brilliant Marketing to Tempt Teens
Juul’s marketing relied heavily on social media. In fact, it was one of the first major brands of e-cigarettes to do so. Ads appeared on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The company’s Instagram account included professional, artfully created photos that exuded sex appeal and linked use of the product to freedom and relaxation.
Juul’s main Instagram account advertised its many flavors, including Strawberry Lemonade, Watermelon, and Grape. In addition to its main Instagram account, Juul also had seven additional accounts related to its product. In total, these accounts gained over 25,000 followers.1
On the YouTube front, videos related to Juul products enjoyed high engagement and several thousand views. On Reddit, Juul-related products were a hot topic for well over 10,000 members.
Cross-marketing was also used by the company, as well as affiliate marketing and targeted campaigns to get youth interested in Juul.
Is Vaping Different Than Smoking?
Smoking relies on combustion to deliver nicotine and other ingredients to the lungs. The cigarette is lit to burn tobacco and create the smoke that is inhaled. Vaping doesn’t rely on burning or combustion; all vaping products release their nicotine in aerosol form, which is then inhaled.
When a regular cigarette is burned, approximately 7,000 chemicals are produced. When an e-cigarette like Juul produces is directly released into the lungs, droplets of chemicals are released.
How Juul Stacks Up Against Other E-Cigarette Products
Unlike e-cigarettes, which deliver a specific amount of nicotine, Juul users receive the full dose every time they inhale. Here’s another shocking revelation: The nicotine content of a single Juul pod is 0.7mL, which is equivalent to one pack of traditional cigarettes.2
This is far more than other e-cigarette products contain; nearly double the amount, to be exact, hence the “buzz” that teens reported receiving from one pull.
And, yet, Juul continued to market its product illegally, claiming that it was less harmful than the traditional cigarette. Even worse was a Juul representative who visited a school to speak, telling students directly that it was completely safe and far less harmful than cigarette smoking. Do you smell product class action lawsuits?
Vaping Aerosols Are Anything but Harmless
Many assume that because vaping products release aerosols and not chemical-laden smoke, that these aerosols are pretty much the same as water vapor. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Where water vapor is harmless, the aerosol from a Juul vaping device contains a host of harmful chemicals, and many of these are not listed on the product’s label.
The fine particles produced when vaping liquid is heated and becomes an aerosol are delivered directly to the lungs. Even before that, chemical reactions occur following the mixing of flavors into vaping liquid. This mixing causes new molecules to form.
The ingredient vanillin is used to make e-liquid, but also to make vanilla flavoring in the baking and flavor chemicals industries. This ingredient that’s banned from traditional cigarettes emits chemicals which irritate the airways, in addition to causing serious health effects.
Not only that, but testing that Juul itself had done and published revealed that its liquids contain Group 1 carcinogens, the most potent of all carcinogens.
Health Effects of Inhaling Juul Aerosols
So, what can happen when the aerosol from an e-cigarette product like Juul enters the body? Nothing good, according to the National Center for Health Research. Nicotine is highly addictive and can impair lung and brain development in adolescents.
Thanks to the larger amount of benzoic acid contained in Juul products than in other e-cigarettes, vomiting, sore throat, nausea, and abdominal pain have all been reported among users who were constantly exposed to the aerosol.
Juul products use nicotine salts, which are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream. The product can also cause shortness of breath and chest pain. Dizziness and headaches have also been reported among Juul users.
Because of the high nicotine content in a Juul pod, this product can be a gateway to the use of other tobacco products. There are many who are “poly users,” meaning that they use e-cigarettes as well as smoke traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.
An increased risk of heart disease has been cited as another probable health effect of using Juul, as the liquid damages the lining of blood vessels. As well, inhaling high concentrations of nicotine can lead to seizures and also negatively affect reproductive health in terms of low birth weight, birth defects, stillbirths, and premature delivery.
Unfortunately, this may only be a short list of negative health effects, as Juul products have been around for too short a time to know what other health issues will arise as a result of its use. Even so, there is plenty of evidence for a consumer product attorney to make a solid case.
Juul Has Continuously Lied About Its Products
Juul has claimed its products were safer than smoking. It assured students, right to their faces, that its product caused no harm. It adamantly denied targeting its marketing to teens and completely ignored federal regulations that demanded it get federal approval to sell its products as a healthier alternative to smoking.
Juul’s only interest since the beginning was to move money from your pocket into theirs. They were worth more than $38 billion in May of 2019, which proves where Juul’s interests really lie.