Vaping Related Illness Update: FDA Confirms JUUL Illegally Markets E-Cigarettes

vaping related illness, JUUL, lung illness

For several weeks, JUUL has headlined media reports stating that the company’s marketing strategies are more than unethical.  In fact, many people believe that they are illegal.  JUUL has continued to market their products as safe despite the fact that vaping related illness and nicotine addiction is reaching epidemic proportions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has weighed in with a clear message to JUUL.  On September 9, 2019, the FDA ruled that JUUL did illegally market their electronic cigarette products.

The New York Times reports that a warning letter was sent to JUUL from the FDA stating the company violated federal guidelines by marketing their e-cigarettes as a safer or healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes.  The FDA regulates adulterated products, or products that are distributed as having a modified risk.  JUUL did not get FDA approval before marketing their e-cigarette and vape pods as being a safer or healthier alternative to cigarettes.

House Subcommittee Hearing Evidence Suggests Negligence  

Vaping is the term many people use to describe the act of using an e-cigarette.  Hundreds of vaping related illnesses have been linked to e-cigarettes, and so far, five people have died.  Doctors know there is a link between vaping and serious lung illness, but they don’t know what is causing the illness.

JUUL is one of the e-cigarette manufacturers under fire – partly because it is one of the leading brands, and partly because of concern about the safety of their products.  Furthermore, a surge in teenage vaping and nicotine addiction is causing public outrage with JUUL at the center.

A House Subcommittee hearing reveals startling evidence, which the FDA includes in their warning letter to JUUL.  This evidence includes an alarming presentation provided to students by a JUUL representative.  According to the FDA warning letter the JUUL representative stated that:

  • JUUL “was much safer than cigarettes.”
  • That “the FDA would approve it any day.”
  • JUUL is “totally safe.”
  • Students should mention JUUL to [nicotine-addicted] friends because it is “…a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes, and it would be better for the kid to use.”
  • The “FDA was about to come out and say it [JUUL] was 99% safer than cigarettes… and that… would happen very soon…”

FDA Makes a Clear Statement

The FDA makes it clear that they are not happy about this marketing strategy, especially in a presentation to school-age students.  In their warning letter, the FDA states the following about JUUL electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS):

“Referring to your ENDS products as “99% safer” than cigarettes, “much safer” than cigarettes, “totally safe,” and “a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes” is particularly concerning because these statements were made directly to children in school.  Our concern is amplified by the epidemic rate of increase in youth use of ENDS products, including JUUL’s products, and evidence that ENDS products contribute to youth use of, and addiction to, nicotine, to which youth are especially vulnerable.”

While concerns about vaping are not new, the FDA’s message to JUUL comes at a time when Americans are feeling the effects of vaping related illness.

Vaping Related Illness Epidemic

The vaping related illness epidemic is a strange one.  Doctors know that people – primarily youth and young adults – are developing serious illnesses.  But they have not been able to isolate exactly what is causing the illness.  JUUL is at the center of concern for several reasons, including:

  • JUUL comprises over 70 percent of the e-cigarette market.
  • A single JUUL vape pod contains enough nicotine to equal 200 cigarette puffs, or roughly, an entire pack of cigarettes.
  • JUUL is not required to label vape pods with ingredients. Tests have shown that vape pods contain harmful substances including:
    • Heavy metals
    • Toxic particles
    • Acetals
    • Vitamin E acetate
  • JUUL has been linked to serious illness including:
    • Seizures
    • Stroke
    • Heart attack
    • Nicotine addiction
    • Neurological side effects
    • Pneumonia
    • Death
  • JUUL is incredibly popular among teenagers due to marketing that suggests JUUL is easy to use and easy to hide. The device is small and can easily be mistaken for a USB drive or accessory.

vaping related illness, JUUL health risks

These factors are even more startling when you consider that 3.6 million youth report using e-cigarettes at some point.  JUUL is so popular that youth now call the trend “JUULing.”

Among high school students, vaping increased by 78 percent in 2018.  Among middle school students, it increased 48 percent.  Remember, most of these students are not old enough to purchase tobacco products legally.  Still, they are the target of advertisements online and through social media.

Have Questions about Vaping Related Illness?

At Drug and Device Watch, we have been following the ongoing saga of JUUL e-cigarettes.  Our JUUL addiction attorney is representing families who are battling the effects of these dangerous products.  Numerous lawsuits have already been filed, and it is likely that many more will follow as doctors, the FDA, and the CDC continue to investigate the cause of so many illnesses.

If you have questions about vaping related illness, or you or someone you love is battling illness, contact Drug and Device Watch right away.  Now that the FDA has ruled that JUUL was illegally marketing their products, it is clear that consumer rights have been violated.  Find out if you have an actionable claim by calling 1-888-458-6825.  You can also request information by filling out our online form.