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Juul to Pay $1.2 Billion to Settle Youth Vaping Lawsuits

FDA Orders More Than 5 Million E-Cigarette Products Off the Market

E-cigarette maker Juul has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits claiming that the company has fueled the nation’s youth vaping epidemic.

According to a Bloomberg news report, the e-cigarette manufacturer has been accused of getting an entire generation of Americans hooked on nicotine, enticing young vapers with fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes.

A Mountain of Lawsuits Related to Youth Vaping

The payment will settle about 5,000 claims from 10,000 plaintiffs in a watershed moment that could trigger similar legal battles against other vape manufacturers. This settlement comes just months after the company was ordered to pay nearly $440 million to settle an investigation by 33 states into its marketing tactics.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has temporarily banned Juul from keeping its products on the U.S. market. However, the agency has temporarily stalled that initial decision while Juul files an appeal. The company has maintained that its products are a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes for adults. 

Juul is facing thousands of lawsuits from school districts, parents of young Juul users, city governments, and Native American tribes, which are all reeling from the impact of the company’s predatory marketing to teens. The settlement money will be distributed among plaintiffs.

The Damage Done by Juul and E-Cigarettes

Juul conquered the tobacco market more than a decade ago by getting young people hooked on high-nicotine flavor pods. They introduced new flavors, from mint and crème Brulee to bubble gum and cherry, marketing the products on Instagram and other social media via influencers and celebrities. Critics say these tactics were used to promote youth vaping. Three years after Juul’s market debut in 2015, the FDA launched an investigation into the sale of these products to underage individuals.

Juul and vapes are electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While some may look like traditional cigarettes or pipes, others, like the Juul devices, may seem like USB flash drives. This enables youth vaping, making it easy for children and teens to conceal them from parents and other grown-ups.

Most e-cigarettes contain a battery element that heats a liquid, often containing nicotine and other flavorings or chemicals. That then produces an aerosol that is inhaled by its user. So far, no U.S. government body has approved vaping as a tool for quitting smoking, which is how many of these companies market them. 

Data shows that these devices have been increasingly marketed to teens and young adults and that early use of e-cigarettes may cause long-term health effects and irreversible damage to their health.

Recent Studies About E-Cigarettes

Numerous studies over the last few years have shown the negative impact of e-cigarettes on physical and mental health. One study found that vaping causes blood pressure and heart rate to spike immediately afterward. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that vaping and smoking cause people’s heart rates to spike 15 minutes after use and put the body in “fight or flight” mode.

Another study found that e-cigarette users are less fit than people who do not vape. Vapers perform poorly when exercising compared to non-smokers, the study found. People who vaped scored 11% lower than people who did not use nicotine. Experts say these studies add to a growing body of evidence that shows similar cardiovascular harm among those who use e-cigarettes and those who smoke traditional cigarettes.

A federally-funded study also shows that vapers are at the same risk of heart disease as cigarette users. In two studies, e-cigarettes were found to cause similar damage to blood vessels as smoking tobacco. In spite of the difference in ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol and tobacco smoke, researchers found that blood vessel damage does not appear to be caused by a specific ingredient in either type of cigarette. 

On the other hand, it seems to be caused by airway irritation, which triggers biological signals in the valgus nerve. So, as long as there is an irritant in the airway, blood vessel damage could still occur, researchers found. These dangers highlight the risks associated with youth vaping.

Holding E-Cigarette Makers Accountable

In 2019, amid widespread backlash and federal investigations, Juul dropped all of its marketing and advertising and discontinued most of its flavors. In September, the company agreed to pay nearly $440 million to settle a two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products. 

Other e-cigarette makers have also been the targets of lawsuits. Puff Bar, a disposable product, faces similar allegations as Juul for targeting young users with attractive flavored products.

Recent vaping lawsuits have claimed that the use of e-cigarettes has caused serious health issues, from lung injuries, heart conditions, and cancer to seizures, strokes, and worsening of existing conditions such as asthma. Many of these vaping companies failed to warn consumers about these dangers. Instead, they marketed them as safe and as “safe alternatives” to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

If you have suffered from serious injuries or illnesses due to vaping, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. You may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, cost of ongoing treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities, and past and future pain and suffering. 

An experienced lawyer who deals with faulty and dangerous products, such as an e-cigarette, will be able to help you better understand how to pursue your rights and hold these negligent corporations accountable.

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