A University of Oregon student has filed a class action lawsuit against vaping giant JUUL alleging the company failed to warn consumers how addictive and dangerous its vape devices and e-liquids are.
The lawsuit also names Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris USA. Altria invested $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in JUUL in 2018. Last October, the company took a $4.5 billion write down on that investment in the wake of mounting health concerns linked to vaping as well as concerns raised about the company’s alleged marketing to teenagers.
The lawsuit was filed in Oregon’s Lane County Circuit Court by Kewmarse Imani, and alleges “JUUL, in advertising and promoting its electronic cigarettes, failed to give an adequate warning about the danger those electronic cigarettes posed to persons likely to be injured by those electronic cigarettes. Although some of JUUL’s more recent advertisements have mentioned that JUUL contains nicotine, those advertisements made no suggestion JUUL electronic cigarettes contained more nicotine than competing products.”
Imani claims that the vape companies were negligent in their marketing to youth, enticing them with flavored e-liquids and cartoon-character endorsements. The lawsuit also claims the companies were fraudulent in their concealing and misrepresenting of the health risks their products posed to users. Imani also draws a comparison to Big Tobacco’s advertising and concealing of health risks of cigarettes.
“It was easy for JUUL to copy Big Tobacco’s proven marketing strategy,” the lawsuit states. “But JUUL exploited this information to learn how to hook a generation of America’s youth on nicotine. JUUL does not even keep this fact a secret.”
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives.