Juul Labs face class action lawsuit

20-year-old woman files in federal court after earlier lawsuit was dropped

Juul Labs, creator of the popular Juul device, is facing another lawsuit over their flavored cartridges called pods. The lawsuit adds to the mounting legal problems Juul Labs has been facing recently.

A 20-year-old Illinois woman filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs and parent company Philip Morris USA in federal court last Wednesday after an earlier one that was filed in the same court was dropped by a 19-year-old Illinois man. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status.

The lawsuits allege that the companies violated the federal Prevention of Tobacco Use by Minors and Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products Act as well as the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by allegedly using deceptive marketing aimed at teens.

The main complaint is that Juul Labs intentionally marketed to underaged consumers through social media advertisements and paid influencers while downplaying or hiding the health effects associated with their products.     

Both plaintiffs report beginning their e-cigarette use at the age of 16 and report experiencing similar side effects including asthma and other severe breathing problems, mood swings and fits of rage. 

“When I went to high school, I remember a lot of people (smoking) it in the bathrooms,” sophomore Mike Marchese said.

“I think it’s more of a cultural thing rather than an effort by Juul to target minors.” When asked about the plaintiff who started at the age of 16, Mike stated, “People should generally be aware of the risk in (e-cigarettes).”

“It was really popular in my high school,” first-year psychology major Eric Maahs said. “It’s not that everyone had one but almost everyone at least tried one from their friends which let them get one of their own.”

Maahs went on to state that he believes Juul labs plays a big part in underage vaping culture, noting that people use the words “Juuling” and “vaping” interchangeably.

Similar complaints have been filed in various courts in Alabama, California, Florida, New Jersey and New York.

The second most recent filing was in late July by a Florida law firm includes a motion for a preliminary injunction that would ban the sale of Juul e-cigarettes across the United States.

All the lawsuits allege that Juul intentionally marketed their devices to teens.

 On July 25, San Francisco city officials moved to ban the sale of Juuls and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) within its city limits in an effort to enforcemore Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations onto the industry.

Additionally, on Aug. 21, Juul let its membership to the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) expire citing a lawsuit filed by the VTA against the FDA as well as  policy difference.

After leaving the VTA, Juul Labs said in a public statement, “We support clean Tobacco 21 legislation and an outright ban on certain flavors.”

Tobacco 21 is a national campaign to raise the minimum legal age of purchase for tobacco to 21 across the U.S.

Juul was one of the only ENDS manufacturers to comply with FDA regulations to discontinue “kid-friendly flavors” such as fruit and candy variants implemented in late 2018.

They would go on to implement their own, stricter, regulations.

Juul Labs is in the process of becoming a FDA approved product before the FDA’s May 2020 deadline.

By Joseph Cotton | Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Flickr