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Has the Marketing of Juul E-cigarettes to Teens Caused a Nationwide Addiction Problem?

The use of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs, is becoming prevalent across the country.  Also known as “vaping,” since the user is inhaling vaporized liquid nicotine, this relatively new phenomenon is widely viewed as a safer alternative to traditional smoking.  But one dark side of the vaping craze is the rapid rise […]

Juul E-cigarettes The use of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs, is becoming prevalent across the country.  Also known as “vaping,” since the user is inhaling vaporized liquid nicotine, this relatively new phenomenon is widely viewed as a safer alternative to traditional smoking.  But one dark side of the vaping craze is the rapid rise in use among teenagers.  And with the increase in teen usage comes the potential for more teen addiction to these nicotine products, a phenomenon which appears to be unfolding now.

Juul e-cigarettes are by far the most popular brand, comprising about two-thirds of the America e-cig market.  The common use of the term “Juuling” as a verb is testament to the market dominance of Juul products.  And it is now apparent that teens are a large and growing segment of Juul’s market base.  With everything from the appealing design of Juul e-cigs to the varied flavors in which they are sold, teenagers nationwide appear to be a driver of the Juuling social trend … as well as the rise in teen e-cig addiction.

Now Juul is facing charges that it intentionally marketed its products to teens and contributed to the high teen usage of Juul e-cigarettes.  The question has now become:  Have Juul’s marketing tactics caused a teen epidemic of addiction to its products?

E-cigarettes Explained

An e-cigarette is a small device, powered by a battery, which vaporizes liquid nicotine into an inhalable mist.  When users inhale this mist, they experience the nicotine “rush” familiar to traditional smokers.  Unlike combustible cigarettes, there is no flame, no ash, much less smell, and no need to discard a cigarette butt.  In addition, e-cigs do not contain many of the toxins in traditional cigarettes, which include carbon monoxide, tar, and numerous added chemicals.  Based on these surface facts alone, it is easy to see why e-cigarettes have been marketed as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products.  But there is evidence that e-cigarettes pose an increased risk of addiction.  The e-cigarettes effectively deliver a more potent dose of nicotine, at a higher concentration, and in a more pleasurable way, as compared with traditional cigarettes.  This may be the reason for an increase in e-cigarette addiction, especially among teenagers.

The Social Phenomenon of Juul E-cigarettes

Only on the market since 2015, Juul products continue to account for the majority of the vast increase in American e-cigarette sales.  Unfortunately, they also account for most of the e-cigarette usage among teenagers.  Juuling appears to be rampant among middle and high schoolers, with school districts issuing warnings and some local governments cracking down on e-cig sales.  So why are Juul e-cigs so popular, especially among teens?

One reason may be their unique design and flavors.  The Juul e-cigarette is a two-piece system, consisting of the Juul vaping device and a Juulpod.  The vaping device is a small rectangular object with a heating device and rechargeable battery.  The Juulpod is a small pod filled with Juul’s patented nicotine solution.  When the Juulpod is slid into the vaping device, the contraption resembles, in size and shape, a USB thumb drive.  Along with this sleek design, Juuls have been marketed with flavors as diverse as mango, “cool cucumber”, crème brûlée, cool mint, and fruit medley.  While these flavors and their branding are also popular among adult vapers, they may be especially attractive to young people.

Yet the single most important “draw” of Juul e-cigarettes may be their patented nicotine solution.  Juul’s unique formulation uses a mix of nicotine salts and benzoic acid.  The chemical interaction between these ingredients causes a more potent delivery of nicotine to the user’s system.  Research has indicated that Juul’s formulation causes: (1) nicotine to enter the system faster than cigarettes, (2) a higher peak concentration of blood nicotine than cigarettes, and (3) more total nicotine to enter the person’s system than from a cigarette.

Juul E-cigarette Marketing Directed at Teens

Juul E-cigarettes to Teens

There is evidence that Juul directed its e-cig marketing efforts at teens, possibly contributing to an epidemic of teen addiction, and government authorities have taken notice.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced an investigation into Juul’s teen marketing efforts, as well as illegal sales to minors, as of March 2018.  And in July 2018, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced its own investigation into Juul Labs for marketing to minors.

Private lawsuits have also been filed against Juul Labs on behalf of teenagers addicted to Juul e-cigs.  These include two federal cases filed in New York and California, and another state court complaint in California.  These lawsuits paint a picture of a youth culture where Juul usage is rampant in our schools and the temptations for teens to use Juuls can be overwhelming.  In the New York lawsuit, a mother of a 15-year-old teen alleges her son suffered from an overwhelming Juul addiction which negatively affected his personality, concentration, and scholastic performance.

Among the specific marketing tactics at issue is an early marketing campaign featuring using the tagline “VAPORIZED,” showing young attractive people and using bright colors.  Another is Juul’s marketing efforts on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook, which are popular with teens.  These tactics, along with the product’s sleek design and varied flavors, were potentially intended to be especially influential among young people.  In addition, the lawsuits allege that Juul failed to disclose the true level of addictiveness of its e-cigs, both in advertising and on product warning labels.

According to a New York Times report, an anonymous former senior manager at Juul said he and others were well aware their marketing could appeal to teens.  The company allegedly noticed numerous social media posts of teens vaping with Juuls.  In addition, some customers bought more Juul kits than they could use individually, as much as ten per order, which was a strong indication the products were being bought for resale.  With all of these factors in play, Juul Labs was arguably on notice that its marketing efforts were attracting teens.

Legal Assistance for Teen Juul Addicts

If your teenager is suffering from an addiction to Juul e-cigarettes, you may feel helpless.  Yet you should know that your teen’s addiction may be the fault of a marketing campaign by Juul that focused on the company’s profits at the expense of our youngest generation.  While treating your teen’s addiction is the first priority, filing a lawsuit against Juul could result in a legal award for such things as the following:

  • Medical bills to diagnose and treat the condition.
  • Pain and suffering for having to live with the addiction and its negative effects.
  • Punitive damages to punish and make an example of the company.

CONTACT A JUUL E-CIGARETTE ADDICTION ATTORNEY TODAY

If you are the parent of a teen addicted to Juul e-cigarettes, or a young adult who developed a Juul addiction as a teen, you may have legal rights to receive compensation. However, time is of the utmost importance, since there are legal limitations on how long you have to take legal action.  Call the attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP as soon as possible at 1-800-YOURLAWYER.

Our Juul e-cigarette addiction attorneys can evaluate your case, free of charge, and let you know how to enforce your legal rights.  Contact Parker Waichman LLP today for your free case evaluation.

 

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