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Electronic Cigarette Class Action Lawsuit | Get the Right Lawyer

Electronic cigarettes (“e-cigs”, “vapes”, and other portable electronic smoking devices) have recently been linked to serious side effects including lung disease, respiratory illness, bronchitis obliterans (popcorn lung), and also been reported to explode during use, causing severe burns, mouth injuries, and even death.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Update: Juul Must Face Class Action Lawsuit Over Teen Addiction

Juul Labs Inc must face a class action lawsuit by New York's attorney general accusing the company of fueling teen nicotine addiction in the state through deceptive and misleading marketing of Juul pods.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan has denied Juul's motion to dismiss most of the Juul E Cigarette lawsuit. The order comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reconsiders a proposed ban on Juul e cigarette products, and Juul reportedly considers bankruptcy as it faces thousands of Juul Lawsuits.

The lawsuit alleged that Juul Labs repeatedly targeted teenagers through advertising campaigns, and illegally sold Juul E-Cigarette products in a variety of flavors appealing to underage consumers through its website and retail stores since Juul Labs launched in 2015.

Juul Labs argued that many of those claims were barred by a three-year statute of limitations. However, Judge Chan found that the state had alleged "a continuous series of wrongs" that continued from 2015 until the time of the Juul E-Cigarette lawsuit, putting the conduct within the limitations period.

Juul Labs also argued that the Juul E-Cigarette lawsuit was preempted by the federal Tobacco Control Act, which regulates tobacco products, as well as the broader Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. But Chan ruled that the state law claims did not impose any requirements on Juul Labs that conflicted with or went beyond federal requirements.

The judge dismissed a single claim accusing Juul Labs of selling Juul E-Cigarettes and Juul pods to minors through its website, finding that it was improperly brought under a state statute that applied only to in-person sales.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on June 23, 2022, that it would ban Juul e-cigarettes and Juul pods, following a nearly two-year review, but on Tuesday said it would review its decision. A federal appeals court had previously blocked the ban on Juul E-Cigarettes and Juul pods.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Juul Labs is working with legal advisers on options including a possible bankruptcy.

In 2018, Juul Labs pulled popular flavors of Juul pods such as mango and cucumber from retail store shelves and shut down its social media channels on Instagram and Facebook. Juul Labs is currently facing thousands of lawsuits from states, local governments and individuals over its marketing practices on Juul pods.

Juul Labs has also agreed to pay more than $87 million to settle claims from four states over related accusations that it marketed its Juul E-Cigarette products to minors.

The Juul E-Cigarette Lawsuit is: People of the State of New York v. Juul Labs Inc, New York Supreme Court, No. 452168/2019.

Side Effects of E-Cigarettes

  • Severe lung disease
  • Respiratory illness
  • Bronchitis Obliterans ("Popcorn Lung")
  • Burns/scarring from injuries involving exploding e-cigarette batteries
  • Nicotine poisoning/toxicity
  • Pneumonia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Disorientation
  • Seizure
  • Death
  • And more

Dozens of Deaths, Thousands of Lung Injuries from E-Cigarettes, CDC Says

October 4, 2019 - The number of vaping lung disease cases has jumped to at least 1,080 -- including 18 deaths [1] -- in 48 states and 1 U.S. territory following last month's warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in which the agency reported 530 lung illnesses and 7 deaths associated with e-cigarettes.

Confirmed deaths from Juul e-cigarettes occurred in the following states: Alabama, California (2), Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas (2), Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon (2), and Virginia. A wrongful death lawsuit is currently under investigation, according to the CDC.

Do Not Use E-Cigarettes or Vapes, AMA Warns

September 18, 2019 - Consumers should avoid using Juul e-cigarettes, vapes, and similar products until health officials can investigate the more than 200 cases of severe lung illness associated with vaping devices, according to the American Medical Association (AMA) [2].

“In light of increasing reports of e-cigarette-associated lung illnesses across the country, the AMA urges the public to avoid the use of Juul e-cigarettes until health officials further investigate and understand the health risks of these illnesses," said Patrice A. Harris, MD, president of the AMA. "The AMA recommends anyone who has recently used Juul e-cigarettes to seek medical care promptly if they experience any adverse health risks, particularly coughing, shortness of breath, or chest pain.”

The announcement follows news of another vape-related death from lung infection, the 6th to date in the U.S., according to NBC.

FDA Issues Warning on "Severe Respiratory Disease" Linked to Juul E-Cigarettes

August 30, 2019 - At least 215 potential cases of severe respiratory disease in 25 states, in addition to patients with pulmonary illness, are being investigated in connection with the use of Juul e-cigarettes and similar vaping devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to Safety Communication [3] issued on Friday. Most patients presented with a gradual onset of the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain before hospitalization

Some patients reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fevers
  • Fatigue

In addition to the Centers for Disease Control investigation, states are completing their own probes into the cases based on a newly-released federal standardized case definition. If you use e-cigarettes or vapes, and are concerned about these findings, FDA recommends that you refrain from use and consult your physician.

Vapes Linked to Increased Risk for Seizures

April 8, 2019 - FDA is warning about a link between the use of e-cigarette or “vapes” and an increased risk for seizures, as dozens of consumers have reported having the episodes while using them or shortly after. Since 2010, the agency has received at least 35 reports of seizure in e-cigarette users — both novice and experienced, young and older — making an exact cause for the brain episodes harder to diagnose.

Texas Man Dies From Vape Explosion

February 14, 2019 - An exploding e-cigarette caused a man from Fort Worth, Texas, to suffer lung injuries so catastrophic they resulted in his death from a severed carotid artery, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The victim, 24-year-old William Brown, was at a vaporizer store in Keller, Texas, when the fatal incident occurred. His grandmother says he had just purchased the vape and was using it for the first time in her car when the vape pen exploded in his mouth. Brown died 2 days later at a local hospital.

The Smoke and Vape DZ shop said Brown wanted help using a Mechanical Mod style vape pen, and that the shop manager later called police after seeing him on the ground in the parking lot.

E-Cigarette Lawsuit Filed in Kansas

April 30, 2018 - A Kansas man who claims the spare battery to his electronic cigarette exploded inside his pocket and caused him severe lung injuries has filed a products liability lawsuit against the vape shop where he purchased the device.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed on Feb. 6 in Sedgwick County District Court, the Plaintiff was carrying the spare lithium-ion battery for his e-cigarette in the front pocket of his slacks when the event occurred.

The explosion was the result of metal from some of the other items plaintiff had in his pocket interacting with the spare battery in a way that caused a short leading to a “thermal runway,” according to the lawsuit. When this occurred, the battery ignited and burst into flames like a “flame thrower,” the plaintiff said, causing chemical and thermal burns to his left leg and hands, which required skin grafts to heal.

Plaintiff is suing the vape shop where he purchased the battery, as well as the distributor, VapeUSA Corp, for at least $75,000 in damages.

Ex-Navy Seal Suffers Burns, Laceration in Vape Explosion

May 15, 2017 - A U.S. Navy veteran from Dallas, Texas, who claims he was severely burned when his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket has filed a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer, and distributor of the device. Plaintiff Matthew Bonestele claims that his LG Chem HG2 18650 battery exploded in his right pants pocket, causing third-degree burns to his right leg and puncturing his right thigh.

Navy Bans E-Cigarettes Over Exploding Battery Concerns

April 18, 2017 - The U.S. Navy is banning e-cigarettes and portable vaporizers from its aircraft, ships, and submarines after receiving multiple reports of the devices’ batteries exploding, catching fire and injuring sailors. Malfunctioning e-cigs have forced at least one aircraft to land, started fires on ships and left multiple sailors with severe burns.

Vape lung injuries have occurred when the devices were being used, charged or replaced, or when they came into contact with other metal objects, according to E-cigarette lawsuits.

Read More: E-Cigarette Explosion Lawsuit

E-Cigarettes a “Major Health Concern,” Surgeon General Says

January 16, 2017 - A new report (PDF) from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is calling e-cigarette use among young people a “major health concern,” adding to a heated debate over whether the practice is safer than traditional cigarette smoking.

The Surgeon General’s report found that e-cigarette or “vape” use among U.S. high school students has jumped 900% since 2011, as vape shops have become widespread.

The report also described in scientific terms how young people with developing brains are sensitive to nicotine addiction, and criticized the e-cigarette industry for marketing to teens with candy-flavored vape juice.

What the report does not do -- because not enough time has passed for comprehensive studies to be completed -- is say for certain whether vapes are replacing traditional cigarettes for teens or simply getting more of them hooked on nicotine toxicity.

But waiting for the data could be a mistake if you’re worried about nicotine addiction, according to the report.

“We have a narrow window to act to implement proven policies that can prevent adolescent use,” said Erika Seward, assistant vice president for advocacy for the American Lung Association (ALA) [5], which hailed the surgeon general’s report. “We can’t let the window on E-cigarrete lawsuits close.”

With their massive popularity, vapes have surpassed traditional cigarettes as the most commonly-used tobacco product among teenagers and young adults in the U.S. Surgeon General Murthy notes that “e-cigarette use is strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults, including combustible tobacco products.”

However, “associated” means the causation can run in either direction. If vape users are also more likely to have used regular cigarettes, it could mean they used vapes to quit smoking or it could mean e-cigarettes were a gateway to traditional smoking.

FDA to Investigate Exploding E-Cigarette Batteries

January 4, 2017 - The FDA is planning to hold a 2-day meeting in April to discuss the dangers of exploding batteries in e-cigarettes.

The Associated Press reported last month that the FDA had identified at least 66 e-cigarette explosions between 2015 and early 2016. The batteries overheated caught fire and/or blew up, according to E-cigarette lawsuits.

Researchers from the University of Washington Regional Burn Center in Seattle reported in October that they had treated at least 22 people for burns and other lung injuries associated with exploding e-cigarettes over the previous year, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The researchers said that e-cigarette users have been maimed or burned by exploding batteries, and there have been reports of teeth and facial bones being shattered.

"Once we realized this was a trend at our center, we felt the need to get the word out," said Dr. Elisha Brownson, lead author of the NEJM study. "We want consumers to know this is a risk."

According to the CDC [6], about 3 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015, up from about 2.46 million the year before.

Among adults who tried to quit smoking in 2014, over half had tried e-cigs as an alternative, and more than 20% started using them. Slightly over 3% of people who had never smoked tried the devices, but what has troubled health officials is that young adults between ages 18 and 24 were the highest number of new users.

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Tennessee Man Suffers Broken Neck, Multiple Injuries from Exploding E-Cigarette

May 31, 2016 - A 29-year-old man from Memphis, Tennessee, suffered a broken neck, facial fractures, shattered teeth, and severe burns after an electronic cigarette manufactured by Kangertech exploded in his mouth.

Cordero Caples was hospitalized in Colorado Springs, CO., last November and forced to undergo spinal surgery, according to CBS News [7]. He spent 10 days in the hospital and still has not been able to return to his job as an automobile detailer.

“He has a hard time moving his body,” said Colessia Porter, Caples’ sister. “How much of a range of motion he’ll have is something we just don’t know.”

According to the Colorado Springs Fire Department, emergency crews responded to the call at Caples’ place of employment, and the incident is still under investigation. While most e-cigarette explosions have caused burns and related lung injuries, Caples is unique in that he suffered a broken neck, together with his other injuries.

Idaho Man Injured by Exploding E-Cigarette

May 24, 2016 - A man from Idaho Falls, Idaho, suffered third-degree burns after he says an electronic cigarette exploded in his pocket.

Trey Furniss says he switched to an electronic vape after smoking cigarettes for 12 years. Furniss says he made the switch because the devices are marketed as a “safer alternative” to traditional smoking. He’s not so sure now, however, after being sent to the hospital with third-degree burns after an e-cig exploded in his pocket last month at the Grand Teton Mall.

"We were putting the kids shoes on and I felt something get hot in my pocket and so I put my hand in my pocket and it just blew up... and white flames just shot out of the side of my pocket," Furniss said.

He says he still has no idea why his vape exploded, although similar explosions have been caused by people using the wrong batteries or putting batteries inside their pocket with change. Furniss claims the electronic cigarette was the only thing in his pocket at the time of the explosion.

"Everything on mine {vape} was good,” he said. “Any advice I could give, just don't, just don't do it at all."

FDA Imposes Strict New Regulations on E-Cigarettes

May 9, 2016 - After years of debating the potential health risks associated with e-cigarettes, the FDA has issued sweeping new rules that extend federal authority to regulate the devices.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell announced the new regulations (PDF) Thursday. The rule broadens the definition of tobacco products to include e-cigs, hookahs, pipe tobacco, cigars, and other products.

The American Lung Association called the new regulations a “long-awaited step to protect public health risks. [8]Under the new regulations, minors under the age of 18 will not be able to purchase e-cigarettes. Not all states currently forbid sales to minors. The products will also have to come with child-resistant packaging.

In 2014, the number of calls to poison control centers about e-cigarettes skyrocketed [9], according to the CDC. Most of the calls involved small children ingesting the liquid or accidentally getting it into their eyes or on their skin.

The new regulations will require e-cigarette companies to register with the FDA and include health warnings on their packaging and in their advertisements. It gives the FDA the authority to evaluate the health effects of electronic cigarette ingredients on users. The new rules will not take effect immediately, as companies will need to time to comply.

E-Cigs Affect Lungs Immediately, Study Finds

April 26, 2016 - Although e-cigarettes are marketed as a safe alternative to traditional smoking, a new study has found that the devices have an immediate effect on pulmonary function.

For the study, which was published this month at the 2016 CHEST World Congress [10], researchers looked at 54 young cigarette and e-cigarettes smokers, 27 of whom had mild controlled asthma. After using e-cigarettes, airway obstruction and inflammation measurements were worse in both groups but were more severe in asthmatics.

Other studies have found that e-cigs are just as dangerous as traditional smokes. A Harvard study [11] found that of 51 e-cigarettes tested, at least one toxin was found in 47 of them, and 75% contained diacetyl, a chemical linked to a severe respiratory illness known as bronchitis obliterans or "popcorn lung". Even more alarming, the levels of diacetyl found in 39 of the e-cig brands contained amounts higher than the lab was capable of testing for.

The number of e-cigarette users has been growing rapidly in recent years. A Reuters poll [12] found that U.S. adults using them rose from 2.6% of the population in 2013 to 10% in 2015.

Millions of Kids Targeted by Electronic Cigarette Ads, CDC says

January 5, 2016 - E-cigarette use is soaring among U.S. teenagers due to numerous ad campaigns targeting this group, according to the CDC.

CDC’s current issue of Vital Signs [13] reports that a significant increase in advertising and the resulting boost in e-cigarette use by minors threatens decades of progress made in preventing children from smoking.

It is illegal for tobacco companies to advertise on TV, and cigarette ads in magazines must include bold warnings about the health effects of smoking. However, there are no such regulations for e-cigarettes or “vapes,” and the industry is spending millions on marketing their products using themes of independence, rebellion, and sex appeal to teenage consumers.

In 2014, vapes surpassed traditional cigarettes to became the most commonly used tobacco product among young people. From 2011 to 2014, e-cigarette use among high school students went from 1.5% to 13.4%. Among middle school children, it rose from 0.6% to 3.9%.

Meanwhile, spending on e-cigarette ads soared from less than $7 million to $115 million during the same time period. According to the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey [14], nearly 70% of middle and high school students had viewed some form of e-cigarette advertisement.

The main concern about e-cigarettes has been that they deliver nicotine addiction, which may affect brain development in youths. However, a recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that many e-cigarette flavors contain diacetyl, a chemical that causes an irreversible lung disease called bronchitis obliterans, commonly known as popcorn lung.

E-Cigs Linked to Popcorn Lung, Study Finds

December 8, 2015 - E-cigarettes, which are commonly advertised as being safer than traditional tobacco products, have been linked to an incurable disease known as ‘popcorn lung', according to a study released by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Medically known as bronchitis obliterans, popcorn lung [15] is an irreversible disease in which the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred. The condition first made headlines in 2004, when the CDC [16] reported on a group of workers at a popcorn factory in Missouri who developed the disease.

Though diacetyl is most commonly associated with providing the butter flavor in microwave popcorn, the chemical is also found in fruit and alcohol flavorings used in e-cigarettes. In the study, 47 of the 51 leading electronic cigarette brands and liquids tested contained diacetyl.

Related article: Vaping Bronchitis Obliterans Lawsuits

Electronic Cigarette Timeline

2003 - Invention of E-Cigarettes
Hon Lik, a 52-year old chain smoker from Beijing, China, designs the 1st successful e-cigarette after his father dies of lung cancer. Over the next 5 years, e-cigarettes manufactured by Ruyan are marketed in the U.S. and Europe as a way to safely stop smoking traditional cigarettes.

2008 - WHO Slams E-Cigarette Marketing
In Sept. 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) [17] stated that marketers should immediately remove any claims that e-cigarettes are a safe way to quit smoking due to a lack of scientific evidence. Soon thereafter, a study funded by Ruyan [18] finds e-cigs to be 100-1000x less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, adding that the devices administer nicotine addiction to the upper airways, not the lungs.

May 2009 - FDA releases the results (PDF) [19] of a test of 2 popular electronic cigarette brands, NJOY and Smoking Everywhere, which finds "very low" amounts of nicotine in cartridges labeled as nicotine-free. Two months later, an FDA press release [20] recommends against the use of e-cigs, saying they contain carcinogens and diethylene glycol, an ingredient contained in antifreeze.

2011 - Vapes Explode in Popularity
Studies [21] find high interest in e-cigarette use among the American public; Google searches [22] for e-cigs, vapes and other related terms are higher in the U.S. than in any other country.

A questionnaire [23] of 3,500 electronic cigarette users finds that most use the products because they believe them to be less toxic and cheaper than traditional cigarettes, and will help them quit or significantly cut down on tobacco smoking. Nearly 80% of ex-smokers in the study are concerned they will relapse if they stop using e-cigarettes.

2012 - E-Cigarette Use Among Children Doubles
CDC announces that e-cigarette use among U.S. middle school students doubles [24] from 2011 to 2012, warning that vaping among children may act as a gateway to traditional tobacco use.

2013 - Conflicting Studies Over Whether E-Cigs Help Users Quit Smoking
Several studies published indicating that e-cigarettes are not as effective a tool for smoking cessation as previously believed. A cross-sectional study [25] of more than 1,800 tobacco smokers finds a link between e-cig use and "unsuccessful quitter" status, but none with “quitter” status.

Another study [26] finds e-cigarette users far less likely to be tobacco-free 7 months after they first try vaping compared to test subjects who never use the products.

2014 - Poison Control Center Calls Skyrocket
CDC releases data indicating that the number of calls about nicotine e-juice to poison centers rose from a 1 call per month in 2010 to 215 calls per month in 2014. Over half of the calls involved children under the age of 5 ingesting, inhaling or getting the juice in their eyes or on the skin.

2015 - Is Vaping Safe?
NEJM study [27] finds that when heated by high voltage batteries, e-cigarettes release formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.

Another study (cited above) finds diacetyl at higher than laboratory normal levels in 39 of 51 e-juices tested.

September 12, 2018 - FDA Commissioner Warns E-Cigarette Companies No to Market to Teens
FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb issues a statement calling teen vaping a "youth vaping epidemic," and urges the e-cigarette industry to address the problem or risk having their products removed from the market.

March 13, 2019 - FDA Restricts Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products
FDA issues new guidelines restricting the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapes, at convenience stores, gas stations and pharmacies. The agency also asks that all e-cigarette companies submit applications showing their products meet current regulations by Aug. 8, 2021.

April 3, 2019 - FDA Announces Investigation into Risk of Seizures with E-Cigarettes
FDA issues a press release stating that it is aware of reports of seizures associated with vape use, and launches an investigation to study the potential risk.

June 29, 2019 - San Francisco Bans Sale of Vapes, E-Cigs
San Francisco becomes the first city in the U.S. to ban all sales of e-cigarettes and vapes.

August 7, 2019 - FDA Updates E-Cigarette Seizure Info
FDA announces that it has received at least 129 reports of seizure and other neurological symptoms -- fainting, tremors, etc. -- in people who had recently used an e-cigarette or vape.

August 17, 2019 - Feds Launches Probe into Reports of Lung Disease with Vaping
The CDC and FDA launch a joint investigation into at least 215 cases of severe lung disease in people who smokes vapes and/or e-cigarettes.

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The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in e-cigarette lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating e-cigarette lawsuits in all 50 states.

 Again, if you were harmed by an e-cigarette, you should Schmidt & Clark, LLP immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing e-cigarette lawsuits and we can help.

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