As concerns about the potential health risks associated with JUUL vape pens continue to mount, the former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for a total ban on JUUL products. According to reports, Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA Commissioner who spearheaded the agency’s first efforts at curbing vaping and regulating e-cigarettes but who resigned his position in April, stated at an event this week that JUUL products “should be pulled off the market entirely,” due to the very present risk of teen nicotine addiction. If you or someone you love has suffered a nicotine addiction or another serious side effect from JUUL e-cigarettes, consult a knowledgeable e-cigarette injury attorney today to find out if you are eligible to pursue compensation from the makers of JUUL.
JUUL pens were first introduced in 2015 and quickly became the most widely used e-cigarette product on the market, especially among teens and young adults who were drawn to the e-cigarettes’ sleek, easily concealable design and myriad e-liquid flavors. JUUL pens are made to look like USB thumb drives and they emit little to no visible vapor, which has made them popular among teens and prior nonsmokers, many of whom are now struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine. Some say the discreet design of JUUL pens was a deliberate attempt on the part of JUUL Labs to target underage users who could surreptitiously use the device in school and at home without teachers or parents catching on. In fact, JUUL’s illegal use of deceptive marketing tactics is the main argument behind claims that the company triggered the teen vaping epidemic that has adversely affected families and school districts across the country.
There is no doubt that the teen e-cigarette use problem in the United States has reached epidemic status. New research shows that one in four high school students vape, many without realizing that JUUL pens pack a highly potent dose of nicotine. In fact, many JUUL users have no idea the pens contain any nicotine at all and are completely unaware of the fact that they are putting themselves at risk for nicotine addiction and other potentially life-changing side effects by vaping. According to the JUUL website, a single JUUL pod contains the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs. JUUL also contains more nicotine than most other e-cigarettes and delivers nicotine up to 2.7 times faster than other brands.
Despite these serious risks, federal regulators have made little effort to warn e-cigarette users about the growing dangers of vaping. In September, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL, indicating that there was evidence the company told school-aged children that its e-cigarettes were safer than traditional cigarettes. That same month, the Trump administration discussed implementing a ban on most flavored e-cigarettes, which many believe is what appeals to teens, youth and prior non-smokers. The move had already been cleared by federal regulators, but the president recently pulled back on issuing the ban, some say under pressure from tobacco industry lobbyists.
Gottlieb, for his part, has reportedly stated that the potential risk of nicotine addiction from JUUL e-cigarettes far outweighs claims by JUUL Labs that the devices help people quit smoking, a claim that has never been proven. On the contrary, youth tobacco use is currently at its highest in 19 years. “Whatever [smoking cessation] benefits they had have been greatly overshadowed by the nicotine addiction 2018,” Gottlieb said at the event this week. “We were worried, and I still am.”
Gottlieb isn’t alone in his fight against e-cigarettes and vaping. Earlier this week, the American Medical Association issued a statement calling for all flavored vaping products to be immediately removed from the market. “We cannot waste years or even decades on this emerging public health threat while a new generation falls prey to nicotine addiction,” stated AMA President Patrice A. Harris in the press release. “The verdict on vaping is clear. The time for bold and decisive action is now.”
Meanwhile, health officials in the United States are increasingly concerned about the rash of lung illnesses that have been reported in connection with the use of e-cigarettes. The latest toll puts the number of vaping-related lung illnesses at more than 2,100, including at least 42 deaths. Gottlieb’s call for a JUUL ban also comes amid dozens of JUUL addiction lawsuits and class action lawsuits filed against the company, all of which raise similar allegations that the manufacturer intentionally marketed its products to minors and prior non-smokers, while failing to provide adequate warnings about the potential risk of nicotine addiction and other problems from JUUL pens. As more and more teens and young adults step forward and pursue legal claims after becoming addicted to JUULing, it is estimated that thousands of cases will ultimately reach the federal court system.