The parents of a 15-year-old girl filed a proposed class action this week against the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs, Inc., and tobacco giant, Altria Group, Inc, alleging they are intentionally targeting teens and concealing e-cigarettes’ nicotine content & addictiveness, according to a Law360 story.
The lawsuit was filed by Sarasota residents in the Middle District of Florida. In it, the parents say they are filing on behalf of their teenage daughter who is suffering from seizures after using Juul e-cigarettes for almost a year. The parents allege their daughter’s seizures are a complication of nicotine ingestion and claim Juul is following Big Tobacco by targeting teens for its e-cigarette products.
According to the article, the parents say at 14, their daughter began using Juul vaping products and was unaware they contained nicotine when she first began vaping. Using the mango flavor most often, she occasionally ingested the nicotine liquid. And now at 15, they allege she is addicted to nicotine and has had seizures.
The plaintiffs allege that Juul, which owns about three-quarters of the e-cigarette market, delivers approximately 30 percent more nicotine per puff compared to conventional cigarettes.
Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA Inc., bought a 35 percent stake in Juul for $12.8 billion in December, weeks after Altria announced it would remove its vaping products from the market “to address the youth vaping epidemic,” according to the article.
The lawsuit cites U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention figures showing 4.9 million middle and high school students were tobacco product users in 2018, which is a 1.3 million jump from the previous year. The plaintiffs assert the increase is due to the spike in e-cigarette usage.
They are seeking classwide damages under federal racketeering laws as well as for fraud and deceptive trade practices, according to Law360.