History of Vaping

The history of vaping is short but full of controversy. The FDA says the rate of JUUL and other vape device use among U.S. youth has become a national epidemic, reversing decades of progress in preventing teen smoking.

Vaping History


September 26

The CDC reports there are more than 800 cases reported in 46 states, including 12 confirmed deaths in 10 states, as of Sept. 26. Data for which the CDC has complete sex and age information reveals that two-thirds of those sickened are between the ages of 18 and 34. To date, no brand or ingredient has been identified as the cause of the illnesses. Meanwhile, the number of cases appears to be increasing every day.

September 25

JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns steps down and is replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, the chief growth officer at tobacco Altria, which owns a 35% share of the company. JUUL also announced that it agreed to stop advertising its vape products in the United States, and that it would not push back on a Trump administration plan to remove flavored e-liquids from the market. Altria also announced that merger discussions between Phillip Morris, makers of Marlboro cigarettes, and Altria have been called off.

September 19

FDA launches a criminal investigation into the nationwide epidemic of vape-related lung injuries.

September 18

The seventh person to die from the mysterious lung complications was a 40-year-old man from Tulare County, California. This is the second vaping-related death in California.

September 10

Health officials in Kansas confirm another death associated with an outbreak of serious lung disease related to vaping, bringing the fatality count to six.

September 9

FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products issues a warning letter to JUUL Labs, Inc., for illegally advertising its nicotine pods as a safer alternative to cigarettes and threatened to seize the company’s products if it didn’t change its practices. In a separate letter, the FDA also requested more information about the company’s marketing practices. The agency expressed in the letter concerns raised during the company’s testifying before Congress during which “testimony revealed JUUL engaged in a wide variety of promotional activities and outreach efforts to persuade potential customers, including youth, to use JUUL products. Witnesses testified, for example, that JUUL advertising saturated social media channels frequented by underage teens and that JUUL used influencers and discount coupons to attract new customers.”

September 6

The Washington Post reports CDC confirming an increase in respiratory illnesses linked to vaping has jumped to 450 in 33 states and one territory, and five deaths and a sixth under investigation with possible ties to vaping. The fourth and fifth vape-related deaths were reported by health officials in Minnesota and Los Angeles. Federal health officials narrow in on possible culprit in e-liquids linked to severe respiratory illness in vapers. Vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E, has been found in some samples of cannabis-containing vaping liquids from patients. When inhaled, the oil can be dangerous if inhaled. CDC confirms a patient death from respiratory illness in Indiana linked to vaping, bringing the confirmed fatality count to three.

September 5

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House panel that oversees consumer product investigations, sends a 53-page letter to acting FDA Commissioner Sharpless, calling testimony by JUUL during its two-day hearing into the company’s marketing practices, “extremely concerning.” Rep. Krishnamoorthi urged the FDA to evaluate the statements and “take all appropriate enforcement action to protect the American public from the fraudulent and unapproved medical claims made by JUUL.”

September 4

Oregon health officials report a second death due to respiratory illness in July was linked to vaping.

August 30

As cases of vape-related respiratory illnesses rise, CDC urges consumers not to buy vaping products off the street and not to modify them.

August 29

FTC launches an investigation into JUUL’s marketing practices. City of Milwaukee urges citizens to stop vaping immediately due to emerging health risks.

August 28

Colorado Attorney General launches investigation into JUUL’s marketing to teens.

August 27

North Carolina, which filed a lawsuit against JUUL in May, sues eight other vaping companies over alleged marketing to children.

August 23

Dr. John E. Parker, part of the West Virginia University team of doctors that identified a case of pneumonia possibly linked to vaping, tells Kaiser Health News, “I know we’ve seen a case [of alveolar hemorrhage syndrome] that we published, and in polling some colleagues we think we’ve probably also seen [cases of] cryptogenic organizing pneumonia as well as lipoid pneumonia and acute eosinophilic pneumonia. Yeah, we’ve certainly seen at least probably four forms of lung disease from vaping.” Illinois health officials report first known death linked to vaping due to acute respiratory illness.

August 22

CDC reports updated data related to an outbreak of potentially vaping-related severe lung illnesses  – 193 potential cases were identified in 22 states from June 28 to August 20, 2019.

August 19

A 19-year-old JUUL user files a lawsuit against the company alleging JUUL targeted minors with its advertising, which left him addicted to nicotine.

August 17

State and federal health officials report that 153 people in 16 states have suffered from serious respiratory problems after vaping.

August 13

Lake County, Illinois sues JUUL for targeting young people with its vaping devices.

August 7

FDA encourages health care providers and consumers to submit reports related to seizures following vaping as part of the agency’s continuing scientific investigation of a potential safety issue. (The agency first announced the issue April 3, 2019). The FDA says it has received 127 reports of seizures or other neurological symptoms, such as fainting or tremors, that occurred after vaping between 2010 and 2019.


During the 2019 Alabama Legislative Session, lawmakers passed and Gov. Kay Ivey enacted a law to better regulate and provide more oversight of the manufacture, sale and marketing of alternative nicotine products including vaping devices. Beasley Allen files a lawsuit against JUUL Labs on behalf of an Ohio mother who says her twin daughters began JUULing at 14 years of age and became severely addicted to nicotine.

July 24-25

JUUL Labs co-founder James Monsees testifies before the House Subcommittee on Economic Consumer Policy of the Committee on Oversight and Reform to explain the company’s role in youth nicotine addiction, during which JUUL was criticized for sending a representative to a ninth-grade classroom in 2017. A student testified that the representative told students that the USB stick of nicotine on its device was “totally safe.”

July 23

FDA launches $60 million smoking prevention anti-vaping campaign to combat teen vaping.


Connecticut Attorney General’s office and the state Department of Consumer Protection launch a joint investigation into JUUL’s alleged deceptive marketing practices for calling its vaping devices smoking cessation tools. The first suspected vaping-related death due to lung injury occurs; however, the link is not made until September 5, 2019.

June 25

The home of JUUL headquarters, San Francisco, bans vaping. San Francisco becomes the first city in the U.S. to ban the sale of vaping products.

May 15

North Carolina sues JUUL for marketing its vaping devices to young people.

April 3

FDA announces an investigation into the potential link between seizures and vaping, particularly in youth and young adults.

March 13

FDA restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products, including vape devices, at convenience stores, gas stations and pharmacies, and asks that all manufacturers of vaping products submit applications showing their products meet current regulations by August 9, 2021.


September 30

FDA conducts an unannounced inspection of JUUL Labs’ San Francisco headquarters seeking more information about the company’s sales and marketing practices to youth.

September 11

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issues a statement calling teen vaping an “epidemic” and urges vaping industry to address the problem or risk having their flavored products pulled from the market.



U.S. Surgeon General releases a report, “E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults,” and accompanying website to warn of health risks associated with vaping.

November 8

California votes to pass Prop 56, a $2 per pack tobacco tax increase “with equivalent increases on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.”


FDA issues first warning letters to dozens of vape retailers for “illegal underage sales of e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and cigars.

March 4

U.S. Department of Transportation bans vaping on airplanes.


Chest journal publishes a case study on a 45-year-old female “consumer of e-cigarettes” who suffered “multiple pulmonary nodules and liver lesions suspicious of widespread metastases; however, an extensive evaluation found no evidence of malignancy.” After the patient quit vaping, “the lung nodules disappeared, and the liver lesions regressed.” The authors suggested, “vaping can induce an inflammatory reaction mimicking metastatic cancer.”


President Obama signs the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 requiring the packaging of liquid nicotine products to be subject to existing child poisoning prevention packaging standards, effective July 26, 2016.


December 23

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita launch public education and social media campaign to inform youth and their families of the dangers of vaping.

December 18

Nine U.S. Senators urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate “the unfair or deceptive acts of liquid-nicotine retailers” citing a recent report by consumer watchdog First Focus that found “many cases of retailers advertising liquid nicotine as recognizable brand names of candy, breakfast cereal, and other foods and drinks.” The Senators also send letters to 147 liquid-nicotine retailers and 25 corporations regarding the sale of liquid-nicotine products using recognizable brand names of candy, breakfast cereal, and other foods and drinks.


Vape liquid maker Five Pawns Inc., is slapped with a putative class action lawsuit in California federal court by numerous consumers who say the company failed to warn that its vape juice contained diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, chemicals linked to scarring in the lungs, emphysema, and other respiratory problems.

October 21

Eleven U.S. Senators send a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs urging the agency to “work quickly to finalize review of the final deeming rule, ensuring that the rule gives FDA authority over all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and cigars, explicitly bans the use of flavorings and marketing that appeals to children, and mandates child-proof packaging of e-liquids (liquid nicotine).”


Eleven U.S. Senators send a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs urging the agency to “work quickly to finalize review of the final deeming rule, ensuring that the rule gives FDA authority over all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and cigars, explicitly bans the use of flavorings and marketing that appeals to children, and mandates child-proof packaging of e-liquids (liquid nicotine).”

February 5

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) takes legal action against 19 companies that sell vaping devices or liquids without consumer warnings, as required under California law, citing “unregulated vaping products expose users to nicotine, a chemical known to pose serious reproductive health hazards, and thus must carry warnings under the state’s Prop 65 consumer protection law.” CEH also expressed concern about other chemical health threats from vaping, including from formaldehyde and other chemicals known to cause cancer.



Vape retailer NJOY back-pedaled its 2009 plan to discourage vaping by underage youth by no longer selling flavored e-liquids in the U.S., and announced the launch of a new line of flavored e-liquids.

October 9

U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Edward Markey (D-MA) send a letter to the FDA to express concern about inadequate health warnings on vaping devices and reinforce the need for the FDA to quickly finalize proposed regulations that would expand the agency’s regulatory authority over the nicotine-based products.


November 5

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids urges the FDA to act quickly to regulate vaping devices “to protect kids and public health.”

November 4

U.S. Reps. Waxman, DeGette and Pallone send a follow-up letter to the FDA warning “there is growing evidence that e-cigarette manufacturers are taking advantage of the absence of regulation to market their products to young smokers. In fact, e-cigarette manufacturers appear to be using exactly the same advertising and promotional techniques that were used for decades by cigarette manufacturers to hook teenagers on their products.”

October 22

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials urges the FDA to take all available measures to meet the October 31, 2013, deadline “to issue proposed regulations that will address the advertising, ingredients, and sale to minors of electronic cigarettes (known as e-cigarettes).”

September 26

Members of Congress call on vape device makers to explain marketing tactics targeting kids, including “distribution of free samples, television and radio ads, and having characterizing fruit flavors that appeal to kids.”

September 24

The National Association of Attorneys General urges the FDA to “take all available measures to meet the FDA’s stated deadline of October 31, 2013, to issue proposed regulations that will address the advertising, ingredients, and sale to minors of electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes).”

September 19

A collation of health organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Public Health Association and the Oncology Nursing Society call on President Obama to stop delaying granting FDA regulation of all tobacco products, including vaping devices. “This delay is having very real public health consequences,” they write.

September 16

Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives send a letter to the FDA urging the agency to act quickly to regulate vaping products, following newly released CDC data that shows “the percentage of adolescents who use electronic cigarettes, or ‘e-cigarettes’ is growing rapidly … over 1.7 million U.S. middle and high school students tried e-cigarettes last year.”

April 16

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Richard Blumethal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Jack Reed (D-RI), call on the FDA to issue “deeming regulations” asserting regulatory authority over tobacco products, including vaping devices, and to restrict the sale, distribution and marketing of the devices and other nicotine products to children and young adults. The action is based on concerns that “e-cigarettes (are) a possible pathway to traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.”



Under the Obama administration, the Department of Transportation proposes to explicitly ban the use of vaping devices on planes.


August 9

Oregon becomes the first state to successfully take action against distributors of vaping devices after Attorney General John Kroger announces a settlement with vape company Smoking Everywhere regarding vaping devices and liquids. Under the terms of the agreement, Smoking Everywhere admits that it violated Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act and agrees to pay more than $95,000 to the Department of Justice. The company is also barred from doing business in the state. Smoking Everywhere’s president, Elico Taieb, also agrees to pay $25,000 and is “prohibited from transacting any business in Oregon related to electronic cigarettes, tobacco products, nicotine delivery devices, drugs or drug delivery devices of any kind.” The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by Oregon’s attorney general regarding claims that the company and its president misled consumers about the safety of vaping devices and targeted its marketing toward minors.


Air Force surgeon general’s office categorizes vaping devices as tobacco products and bans the use at most Air Force facilities.


FDA announces it will regulate vaping devices as tobacco products, instead of drug-delivery systems.


December 10

Leading vaping device brand NJOY announces it will discontinue in the U.S. the availability of all flavors except its traditional tobacco flavor and menthol in an effort to discourage the use of vaping devices among people under the legal age to smoke. (In November 2014, the company backtracks, announcing it will launch a new line of flavored e-liquids.)


The Oregon Department of Justice bans the sale of vaping devices at all Pilot Travel Centers and TA Operating, a move Attorney General John Kroger’s office said was the first ban of its kind in the country to prevent the sale of the “potentially dangerous products.”

August 18

Suffolk County, New York, bans the sale of vaping devices to anyone under the age of 19 and restricts the use of the devices in public places, the same restrictions currently in place for tobacco products.


FDA warns consumers not to use vaping devices due to concerns, “that e-cigarettes can increase nicotine addiction among young people and may lead kids to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death.” The FDA further warns that vaping devices may also contain known toxins. As a precaution, the FDA says it has been examining and detaining shipments of vaping devices at the border and determined that the products “meet the definition of a combination drug device product under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”


With the signing into law of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, President Obama hands over to the FDA regulatory power over the tobacco industry. New tobacco products seeking to enter the market must meet first FDA standards.


FDA tests two brands of vaping devices and concludes “nicotine is present in both products,” including some products listed as containing no nicotine. Traces of diethylene glycol were also detected. Diethylene glycol is a poisonous organic compound commonly used in antifreeze and brake fluid. Exposure to diethylene glycol can cause neurological complications, organ failure, paralysis and death.



The World Health Organization (WHO) issues a news release clarifying that “contrary to what some marketers of the electronic cigarette imply in their advertisements, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not consider it to be a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit.”



First vaping devices are introduced to the U.S.


The first vape device is developed in Beijing, China, by Golden Dragon Holdings. The company later changed its name to Ruyan, which means “like smoke.”

We Can Help You Fight Back

If you’re a school administrator, you may be wondering what the point of a lawsuit is. If one or more of the campuses in your district is suffering from a JUUL problem, it is likely expensive. Prevention efforts, added security, additional resources to help students with addiction problems – it all adds up.

JUUL targeted children from the start. It knew what it was doing, and it did it anyway. A lawsuit can help your district regain some of the resources lost fighting JUUL’s corporate recklessness. The firms working together to represent school districts and public entities in this litigation together with Beasley Allen are Baron & Budd, P.C.; GozaHonnold Trial Lawyers; Panish Shea & Boyle LLP; Wagstaff & Cartmell; and Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger.

You can contact the attorneys at Beasley Allen by filling out the form below. They can give you a free case evaluation and help you plan a path forward.

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