Weintraub Law is investigating cases of pulmonary illness and respiratory failure among both children and adults after a joint statement was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which stated that as of September 6, 2019, “over 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported to CDC from the following 33 states and 1 U.S. territory.” The FDA further noted that these numbers may change frequently. Five possible e-cigarette deaths have been confirmed to date.
Risks from E-Cigarettes
There have been numerous public health announcements regarding pulmonary disease, respiratory failure, and even death resulting from the use of e-cigarettes in recent months.
Pulmonary disease has become one of the most reported side effects of e-cigarette use and has been examined in-depth by several groups of researchers, including a recent case series published in The New England Journal of Medicine. This series of patients with pulmonary illnesses investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Illinois Department of Public Health found that the median age of e-cigarette users was 19. This study and one published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that examined patients who had been admitted with pulmonary illness after e-cigarette use in North Carolina found abnormal “ground glass” opacities in the lungs.
There is additional medical literature that indicates that e-cigarettes can also lead to pulmonary toxicity in the form of bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP) or cryptogenic organizing pneumonia (COP), a type of lung condition characterized by inflammation and stiffening of areas of the lungs.
The New York Times has extensively covered the potentially fatal consequences resulting from e-cigarette use and notes vaping has reached “epidemic levels” in America. Another Times story on e-cigarettes noted that the surge in illnesses began to be noticed by health departments earlier this year.
The FDA also sent a warning letter to e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL for violating federal regulations by selling its products with marketing touting it as a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes and ordered JUUL to correct these violations, including all related labeling and advertising.
The FDA's Statement to JUUL
JUUL markets their e-cigarettes as “modified risk tobacco products” which indicates that the products have a lower risk of tobacco-related illnesses or are less harmful than traditional tobacco products. In order to use “modified risk tobacco products” in advertising, a company must have authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); JUUL has not received that authorization. One September 9, 2019, the FDA issued two letters to JUUL about their product and marketing practices. The first was a warning letter attacking JUUL’s claims that their e-cigarette products are a safer alternative to smoking traditional products. In the letter, the FDA says that JUUL has ignored the modified risk law and ordered the company to take immediate corrective action to comply with its obligations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The second letter focused on JUUL’s deceptive marketing practices and asked for documents related to the company’s marketing strategies and practices.
The FDA letters were partially triggered by investigations from the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearings pertaining to JUUL’s marketing and promotional practices. During the July 2019 hearings, JUUL was accused of “deploying a sophisticated program” targeting children and teenagers to become the largest e-cigarette company in the country. These deceptive tactics included social media advertising geared toward adolescents on platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, along with visiting schools and summer camps to promote their products.
In response to the epidemic of adolescent vaping, the Trump administration announced that vaping had become an urgent public-health concern in the U.S. and vowed to increase its oversight of the e-cigarette industry. Increased oversight and FDA regulation intends to massively decrease the sale of almost all flavored vaping products. Changes previewed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar include the removal of all flavored vaping products from the market with the exception of tobacco-flavored offerings within 30 days. Producers of flavors would then be required to apply to resume sales and the process would require that the manufacturer proves the benefits of the product outweighs the risks.
JUUL e-cigarettes have been linked to addiction and a severe respiratory illnesses such as Bronchiolitis Obliterans, a condition better known as “popcorn lung.” Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting. JUUL e-cigarette use has also been linked to injuries such as lung damage, strokes, heart attacks, seizures, and pneumonia.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with addiction, popcorn lung, or a severe injury such as a heart attack, stroke, or seizures after using JUUL e-cigarettes, please call Weintraub Law's e-cigarette Attorneys today. We have the tools and experience to help you obtain justice.
Filing a Lawsuit
As a national firm experienced in representing clients injured by defective products, Weintraub Law is prepared to file appropriate lawsuits on behalf of patients who have suffered injuries due to the use of e-cigarettes.