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While e-cigarettes like JUUL are marketed as a "safe alternative to smoking," the company is subject to nationwide lawsuits charging it with negligence, fraud, and other violations that have led to nicotine addiction and other injuries suffered by teen and adult users alike.
A small vaping device that is highly popular among teens and young adults due to its appealing size and shape, easy accessibility, userability and variety of different flavors, the JUUL electronic cigarette packs a nicotine punch that is capable of laying the foundation for nicotine addiction within a very short period of time and causing a multitude of other illnesses.
WHAT IS JUUL?
JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette that is shaped like a USB flash drive. Like other e-cigarettes, JUUL is a battery-powered device that heats a nicotine-containing liquid (JUULpods) to produce an aerosol that is inhaled to deliver high doses of nicotine to the body.
JUULpods are composed of Nicotine, a Propylene Glycol and Glycerin mix (ingredients used in household products, personal products, and even antifreeze), and Flavorings.
JUUL was first sold in 2015, and has since reached over 70% market share for all e-cigarette sales.
JUUL claims to be “a safe alternative for smokers,” but the long-term effects are unknown.
In 2018, Altria, one of the “big tobacco” companies and the maker of Marlboro, purchased a 35% stake in JUUL for $12.8 billion, cementing JUUL as a mainstay in the smoking industry and making it almost as valuable as Tesla.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS OF USING JUUL?
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system, and when ingested, can accelerate blood pressure, pulse, affect mood, increase circulating levels of hormones, increase metabolic rate, constrict blood vessels of the heart and skin, and cause muscle relaxation.
Nicotine adversely affects the heart, eyes, reproductive system, lungs, kidneys and immune system.
The Food and Drug Administration has received numerous reports of JUUL users, primarily teenagers and young adults, who have become severely addicted to JUUL products and even some who have suffered seizures and convulsions as a result of nicotine poisoning and toxicity.
JUUL delivers an exceptionally potent dose of nicotine that is several times higher than that allowed in traditional cigarettes. According to JUUL, a single JUULpod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. In reality, the amount of nicotine entering the user's body is much higher because the patented nicotine salts in JUULpods deliver nicotine to the body much more efficiently than traditional tobacco smoke.
JUUL is one of the few e-cigarettes that uses nicotine salts, and has a patented process to allow particularly high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation than the free-base nicotine that has traditionally been used in tobacco products, including other e-cigarettes.
According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately two-thirds of JUUL users aged 15-24 do not know that JUUL always contains nicotine.
Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning Include:
Elevated blood pressure
Side Effects of Nicotine on Different Parts of the Body:
(1) Central Nervous System: Dizziness, Lightheadedness, Abnormal Sleep Disturbances, Blood-Flow Risk, Headache.
(2) Cardiovascular System: Atherosclerosis, Aortic Enlargement and Dissection, Increased Clotting, Heart Rate Fluctuation, Increased Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Tachycardia, Arrithymias.
(3) Respiratory System: Shortness of Breath, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Bronchospasm, Cancer.
(4) Muscular System: Spinal Disc Degernation, Joint Pain, Tremors.
Shortness of Breath
Other Lung Problems
In addition to the danger of nicotine addiction and poisoning, researchers have identified a number of other serious health risks associated with the practice of vaping.
In April 2018, the Journal of Pediatrics published a report about the carcinogenic effects of the flavoring chemicals used in vape juice to provide fruit flavors.
Chemicals found in vape juice include diacetyl (a buttery flavor), formaldehyde (embalming fluid), toluene (an ingredient in paint thinners and commercial adhesives) and acrolein (used to kill off plant and algae blooms in irrigation canals and water treatment ponds). These chemicals can cause the development of bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung disease that is irreversible, and commonly known as “popcorn lung”. Symptoms of popcorn lung include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, similar to the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
When heated, vape products can produce particles of heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and nickel, all of which can become lodged in lung tissue.
Some vape liquids contain nitrosamines, which are known to cause cancer.
JUUL has been accused by government agencies and in lawsuits across the nation of targeting youth and underage people in its advertising. The end goal? To get a new generation and age group addicted to nicotine - an age group that has steadily seen a decrease in nicotine related product use for decades. When JUUL first began marketing its products, its ads showed young people enjoying JUUL in various settings, including at parties and other social events. JUUL relied heavily on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and utilized social media influencers to appeal to a younger audience and attract as many young people as possible. Touting its flavorable tastes, such as mint, fruit medely, and creme burle, among others, JUUL was highly successful in creating a product that appealed directly to youth non-smokers.
JUUL’s marketing efforts have been so successful among youth that it has reversed a decades long trend of youth smoking. In 1976, 29% of 12th grade students reported smoking cigarettes daily. By 2018, this had dropped to 3.6%. Yet, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students were using e-cigarettes by the end of 2018.
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2019 Copyright, Joseph G. Tekulve, Attorney at Law
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