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NEW JERSEY-PENNSYLVANIA LAWYER FILING CASES FOR VAPING LUNG ILLNESS AND TEEN JUUL ADDICTION
Are you or a loved one suffering from the symptoms of the vaping related lung disease known as EVALI (“e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury”)? Are you addicted to nicotine from using Juul or another e-cigarette brand’s products? The personal injury attorneys at Folkman Law Offices, with offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, are filing cases on behalf of Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents who developed vaping-related lung disease and those who have become addicted to nicotine because of e-cigarette use.
NEW JERSEY-PENNSYLVANIA JUUL TEEN ADDICTION LAWSUIT
The nicotine-based e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, Inc. controls over 70% of the market share of vaping devices in the U.S. Juul engaged in a targeted marketing campaign directed at youth, teens and young adults that has resulted in a nicotine addiction epidemic in Cherry Hill and Philadelphia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and across the nation.
“Juuling” (or vaping) has become part of the daily life of teens in the area. According to New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, the number of teens and young adults under 21 using nicotine products has risen dramatically in recent years. An estimated 3,000 New Jersey children become smokers every year, and 143,000 youth under 18 are anticipated to die prematurely due to tobacco use. Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania teen was taken from his high school in an ambulance when he was found unconscious after vaping in a bathroom stall.
Juul targeted New Jersey and Pennsylvania area teens via social media through the use of young models, bright colors, and sweet flavors like Fruit Medley, Mango, and Mint. Juul is at the center of several consumer lawsuits, many alleging that its marketing tactics and deceitful product packaging led teens to develop intense nicotine addiction.
On Sep. 9, 2019, the FDA issued a warning letter to Juul accusing the company of “marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers,” including a presentation given to youth at a high school. According to the letter, a Juul representative made the following statements to students:
- Juul “was much safer than cigarettes” and that “FDA would approve it any day.”
- Juul was “totally safe.”
- A student “…should mention Juul to his [nicotine-addicted] friend…because that’s a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes, and it would be better for the kid to use.”
- “FDA was about to come out and say it [Juul] was 99% safer than cigarettes…and that…would happen very soon….”
Juul recently confirmed plans to reduce hiring and cut its staff. An increasingly unfavorable U.S. regulatory environment regarding vaping caused Philip Morris International to call off merger talks with Altria, the top investor in Juul, which would have created a $200 billion global power. Juul’s ex-CEO Kevin Burns, who resigned in September 2019, has since apologized for the epidemic of youth nicotine addiction caused by Juul: “as a parent of a 16-year-old, I’m sorry for them, and I have empathy for them.”
HOW ADDICTIVE IS VAPING?
Medical experts worry that nicotine salts, like those used by Juul to make its e-cigarettes, are sentencing young people to a lifetime of addiction to nicotine. Experts warn that these substances could cross the blood-brain barrier and cause learning, memory and attention problems and lead young people to become addicted to other dangerous substances. To make matters worse, the newest generation of e-cigarettes reportedly has a higher level of nicotine than previous versions, making vaping even more addictive – one Juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. As many as 495,000 teenagers who vaped by 2018 are expected to become cigarette smokers in the future. The influx of vapers who began using e-cigarettes in 2019 will likely make this number even higher.
If you are a Pennsylvania or New Jersey teenager addicted to Juul or vaping, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can direct you to a facility to assist you with quitting. The Truth Initiative is another resource available for those looking for ways to quit Juul. There is a free, first-of-its-kind text messaging program that has been set up to give teens the support they need to quit Juuling. You can access the program by texting “DITCHJUUL” to 88709. Local resources include the Pennsylvania Free Quitline, which offers free counseling and coaching on quitting nicotine; New Jersey also has a Quitline that offers free vaping cessation services.
NEW JERSEY-PENNSYLVANIA VAPING LUNG ILLNESS (EVALI) LAWSUIT
In March 2019, the first cases of the mysterious lung disease related to vaping were reported in the U.S. Now, just over half a year later, the disease has spread to become a nationwide public health crisis. On Nov. 5, 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported 2,051 confirmed or probable EVALI cases and 39 deaths across the country. Among the 39 vaping-related deaths were one Pennsylvania resident and one New Jersey resident. A map of the number of lung injury cases reported to the CDC lists between 50-99 cases in both states.
According to health officials, a majority of vaping-related illnesses and deaths are in patients who use THC-containing vaping products. In fact, the CDC announced a breakthrough in its investigation of the illness on Nov. 8. Researchers identified vitamin E acetate, an oil used as an additive in many THC-containing vaping products, as the potential culprit behind many EVALI cases. While vitamin E acetate is harmless in everyday products like vitamin supplements and skin lotions, the honey-like consistency of the oil makes it build up and stick onto people’s lungs.
Symptoms of EVALI mimic those of other severe respiratory illnesses, such as the flu and pneumonia. New Jersey and Pennsylvania vaping lung patients have experienced the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
Vitamin E acetate is probably not the only contributing factor behind the EVALI outbreak. Some patients report using nicotine vaping products, which have not tested positive for the substance. With that being said, no vaping product is considered safe to use at this time. People who keep vaping should monitor themselves for EVALI symptoms and seek medical attention right away if any concerns arise. Some Jersey and Pennsylvania patients have reported that their symptoms developed over a period of several weeks, while others noticed them in just days.
WHAT ARE THE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS OF JUULING/VAPING?
Quitting Juuling and vaping is hard and can take more than one try. One of the keys to quitting for good is to understand the normal symptoms of quitting nicotine versus serious complications. Below are normal symptoms of vaping withdrawal, but if you are concerned about how long these symptoms are lasting, seek medical assistance to make sure nothing more serious is going on.
Symptoms of Vaping and Juul withdrawal include the following:
- Intense cravings for nicotine
- Tingling in the hands and feet
- Nausea and abdominal cramping
- Constipation and gas
- Sore Throat
E-CIGARETTE INDUSTRY UNDER SCRUTINY
Local, state, national, and international regulators are scrutinizing the e-cigarette industry and have also become the subject of scrutiny. U.S. lawmakers recently grilled the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), accusing the agencies of dropping the ball in regulating the vaping industry. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently attributed the dramatic increase in teen e-cigarette use and subsequent illness outbreak to a 2017 FDA decision to delay its review of those products.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED NEW JERSEY/PENNSYLVANIA JUUL LAWYER TODAY
The attorneys at Folkman Law Offices are known for getting results. We are backed by a team of experienced lawyers that are ready to take on Juul labs and Big Tobacco, but we are also family and friends of people impacted by this epidemic. We are committed to making a difference in this vaping epidemic.
If you or your family are battling a nicotine addiction or a lung disease that is related to Juul or another e-cigarette product, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Folkman Law Offices. Our Cherry Hill, New Jersey Office can be reached at 856-354-9444 and our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Office can be reached at 215-561-4848. You can also fill out and submit our online contact form, and we will get back to you about your case as soon we can.