Thousands of JUUL users complained to the company about adverse health symptoms such as a burning sensation in their lungs, blistered lips, vomiting, and even a bleeding throat after vaping, according to an internal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report obtained by Bloomberg through the federal Freedom of Information Act.
The complaints were stored in a JUUL Labs database, which the FDA reviewed during a 2018 inspection spurred by skyrocketing use of vaping products among teens and questions about JUUL’s marketing tactics, which appeared to target teens with flavored e-liquids and using young social media influencers as spokespeople. The FDA’s probe is ongoing.
JUUL’s database collected just shy of 1.3 million complaints from June 1, 2015 – when the company launched – to Sept. 26, 2018. About 2,600 of them were classified as health-related events, and only one – throat bleeding – was considered a “serious adverse event.”
JUUL defines health-related events as “an illness, safety concern, or adverse event that a customer attributes to using JUUL products, or an unintended exposure to JUUL products, which may or may not have involved a visit to a health-care provider.”
Besides burning sensation in the lungs, lip sores and vomiting, complaints included pain or tingling in the mouth, fever, chills and lightheadedness.
The one adverse event classified as “serious” – throat bleeding – was described by the user: “I tried to utilize the starter packs pods and the fruit flavor was so harsh that it made me cough to the point where my throat started to bleed. I am not exaggerating.” The consumer said she saw a doctor, was diagnosed with a “burned throat,” and treated with antibiotics.
About 1 in 12 of the complaints involved JUUL’s nicotine pods leaking in users’ mouths, and some customers reported “accidentally” ingesting the nicotine liquid and getting sick. One person said the liquid squirted out of a pod into his eye.
JUUL’s products – along with other vape manufacturers’ products – have also been linked to an outbreak of lung injury that has sickened more than 2,600 people across the country, killing at least 57.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are handling cases involving injuries related to vaping. We are looking at cases involving adolescent addiction and injuries including seizures, strokes, lung problems, and cardiovascular problems related to the use of JUUL vaping devices.