Beasley Allen has filed a lawsuit against JUUL Labs on behalf of Rene Chaney, an Ohio mother who says her twin daughters began JUULing at 14 years of age and became severely addicted to nicotine. Because of this addiction, her young daughters suffer from strong mood swings, bouts of anger and aggression, discipline problems, and decline in academic performance. One of her daughters even attempted suicide due to nicotine withdrawals. Ms. Chaney and her daughters are represented by Andy Birchfield and Joseph VanZandt of Beasley Allen, along with Columbus, Ohio, attorneys Mark Troutman, Shawn Judge, and Gregory Travalio of Isaac, Wiles, Burkholder & Teetor LLC.
“JUUL has created a nicotine addiction epidemic in our country, and families like the Chaneys are facing the real consequences caused by JUUL’s reckless conduct,” said VanZandt. “Everything JUUL did, from designing the product, manipulating the nicotine, and marketing to minors, was targeted at addicting young people to nicotine. JUUL has made billions of dollars on the backs of America’s vulnerable youth; they must be held accountable.”
Beasley Allen has filed similar lawsuits against JUUL with the goal of holding the vaping giant and other defendants accountable for deploying an aggressive and fraudulent marketing campaign for JUUL vaping devices and products that specifically targeted youth and teens. It’s a campaign that was taken straight from big tobacco’s marketing playbook. The lawsuit also alleges JUUL failed to warn of the products’ highly addictive levels of nicotine and manipulated its products to create and sustain nicotine addiction and uses a sleekly designed device with a wide variety of candy-flavored vaping products to appeal to unsuspecting and younger customers.
In April 2017, Chaney’s daughters began using JUUL vaping devices and related products when they were in middle school. They had never tried any nicotine products but JUUL had become “ubiquitous” among their friends, the lawsuit said, and they were attracted to the kid-friendly favors and a device they could conceal from their parents and teachers. They were not aware of and were never informed about the highly addictive nature of the products or other dangers linked to the products. Within a week both were “powerfully addicted to JUUL” and since becoming addicted, they increased their consumption and reliance on the device, with each of them smoking up to two JUUL pods a day at one point during their addiction. They have also tried other forms of nicotine to satisfy their cravings.
Like many parents, teachers and other adult authority figures, Chaney had no idea the USB-looking device was a vaping device. She has since learned what it is, and the dangers associated with JUUL products. She has witnessed several of the dangers first-hand as she watched how the nicotine addiction transformed her daughters from healthy, bright, ambitious middle school students, to children who are struggling to fight the addiction and deal with the permanent injuries the drug inflicted on their developing brains.
Because of their severe nicotine addiction, both girls experience strong mood swings and newly developed behavioral issues of anger and aggression that didn’t exist before they used JUUL. This has resulted in conflict at home and school and affected their academic performance. For example, J.C. was an honor student but now suffers from migraines and is unmotivated to do anything without her JUUL. Similarly, A.C. also performed well academically, but now struggles with behavioral issues connected to the increased aggression caused by her nicotine addiction. She received in-school suspension during last school year and even attempted suicide in April after Chaney told her she could no longer JUUL. She was admitted to the hospital where she was administered nicotine gum and patches to keep her nicotine withdrawals manageable. Chaney understands that her daughters will likely battle this addiction and other injuries the rest of their lives.
With access also to big tobacco’s research, JUUL has worked to perfect its vaping device’s effectiveness to increase the risk of addiction and ensure it maintains a customer base. Although JUUL claims that each JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, experts believe the amount of nicotine intake for JUUL may be much higher. JUUL designed its vaping device to deliver substantially higher concentrations of nicotine per puff than traditional cigarettes and most other brands’ vaping devices. Its products are also designed to have maximum inhalability, without any “throat hit” or irritation that would serve as a natural deterrent to new users. The lawsuit explains that “[t]his combination of ease of inhalation and high nicotine delivery makes JUUL both powerfully addictive and dangerous.”
The lawsuit is filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Franklin County, Ohio, case number PM-19CV00661.