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The Great Unknown: Vaping Related Illnesses

September 18, 2019 Blog

The rise in reports of vaping related illnesses emphasize the lack of knowledge of this dangerous trend.

Hundreds of reports from across the country are connecting vape products with serious lung problems. What makes these reported health effects particularly alarming is the uncertainty about their exact cause and how the adverse effects have developed so quickly.

Now, some e-cigarette users are looking to hold manufacturers responsible for their failure to warn about the debilitating side effects of vaping.

18-Year Old Files Suit Against JUUL Labs

Last week, an 18-year-old man filed a lawsuit against JUUL Labs Inc. after being rushed to the hospital with severe lung damage following a year and a half of vaping. The complaint alleges that the company’s social media campaign prompted Adam Hergenreder to become addicted to the nicotine in JUUL products. The young man is now coming to terms with the fact that his lung function is like that of a 70-year-old. The lawsuit, filed in Illinois, also names MFD Mobile, the gas station that sold the man JUUL e-cigarettes.

In a statement responding to this case, JUUL claims to have never marketed to youth or non-nicotine users. The company notes that it has launched an action plan to prevent underage use moving forward, which includes enhanced age-verification processes both online and at retail stores to restrict the sale of JUUL products to underage people.

However, vaping has already become a rampant problem among minors. The Surgeon General reports that more than 3.6 million American youth currently use e-cigarettes. More specifically, that equates to one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students.

Nicotine Product Manufacturers’ Failure to Warn

JUUL marketed their products as a ‘safer’ alternative to traditional tobacco products; however, the lawsuit against the company is reminiscent of lawsuits against products they claim to replace.

In 2016, David S. Casey, Jr. filed suit against U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company on behalf of the family of Tony Gwynn. The deceased baseball Hall of Famer died of salivary gland cancer following a decades-long addiction to smokeless tobacco. The complaint says that while in college, Gwynn fell victim to a marketing scheme which led to the rising star’s addiction to smokeless tobacco, a danger the company was fully aware of yet failed to disclose to the public. At that time, the tobacco industry was determinedly marketing its products to African Americans, and Gwynn was a marketing dream come true. David reached a confidential settlement for Gwynn’s family in 2018.

CaseyGerry also successfully represented the Governor of California against Big Tobacco in a landmark settlement in 1998.

Fast Development of Debilitating Side Effects

E-cigarettes are relatively new to the U.S. market. Several vaping companies, like JUUL, market their products specifically to help people quit smoking cigarettes. Studies have pointed out for years that cigarettes cause cancer, emphysema and other deadly diseases – but they typically develop many years after a person begins smoking. Vaping injury reports like Hergenreder’s suggest a much faster manifestation of vaping-related lung damage. Health experts and researchers are still in the process of understanding the short and long-term effects. Due to the recent deluge of lung injuries and deaths tied to vaping, it is safe to conclude that the impact of vaping on the body is largely unknown.

In response to the mounting reports of vaping-related lung injuries, CaseyGerry has published information for lung injury victims and their families. Feel free to contact us with any questions. You can also call CaseyGerry at (619) 238-1811.