South Carolina Lawyers Representing Victims of JUUL-Related Injuries
Representing individuals and class members in claims stemming from exploding e-cigs and dangerous chemicals in vaping liquids
If you or someone you love sustained injuries after using electronic cigarettes manufactured by JUUL, or by other companies, you may be entitled to compensation. McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC is currently pursuing litigation against JUUL and other manufacturers in injury claims involving exploding e-cigs and in claims arising from toxic exposure related to dangerous chemicals. We invite you to contact us at any of our nine office locations throughout South Carolina from which we represent clients nationwide.
Serious injuries and illnesses linked to e-cig usage
McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC represents victims of serious and catastrophic injuries and illnesses related to e-cigarette use, including:
- Acute Respiratory Failure
- Collapsed Lung
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Popcorn Lung
- Cardiac Arrest
- Heart Attack
- Life-threatening allergic reactions
- Burns on the face, hands, and legs (when devices are kept in pockets) from explosions
- Facial lacerations
- Broken jaws and other facial bones
If you have been hospitalized, or are still undergoing treatment for a vaping injury or illness, we want to help. Contact us today to discuss your product liability claim.
What the FDA says about e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have been marketed as a “better” alternative to traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, and cigars. They are marketed as non-combustible products because they do not require a flame to use.
Other names for ENDS
- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs)
- Vaporizer pens (vape pens, “vapes,” or vaping devices)
- Hookah pens
- Tank systems
Not all electronic cigarettes look like cigarettes. JUUL, for example, utilizes a vaporizer that looks like a USB flash drive (and is charged the same way). Other companies create vaporizers that are the size of a pack of cigarettes. They come in all shapes and sizes.
In a vape pen, a small lithium-ion battery heats up a liquid (“e-liquid”), which is converted into a vapor. That vapor is then inhaled by the user.
E-cigs and other vaporizers can be used to inhale e-liquids that contain nicotine, THC oil, and/or CBD oil, in varying degrees of strength. Many of these liquids are flavored, and some claim not to contain any nicotine, THC, or CBD at all.
Why are e-cig batteries so dangerous?
According to a 2019 report published in Tobacco Control, “Although e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries are thought to be rare, current surveillance methods likely underestimate actual occurrences…. From 2015 to 2017, there were an estimated 2035 e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries presenting to US hospital emergency departments.”
E-cigs and vape pens utilize lithium-ion batteries – the very same type of batteries linked to the defective Samsung phones and exploding hoverboards. A defective battery, or a faulty connection between the battery and the heating element, can cause a spark. This spark can lead the battery to catch fire or explode, causing serious burn injuries.
One of the key features in many systems is the ability to mix and match parts, so that users can customize their devices. If different components are mixed together, the draw on the power of the battery may be too strong, as many of the batteries do not come with temperature sensors (or warnings). As such, the user has no way of knowing that his or her vape is overheating, which can lead to fires and explosions.
JUUL’s deceptive marketing of a dangerous substance
Multiple marketing efforts by various companies have claimed e-cigs and vape pens are safer than traditional tobacco products, but the data has increasingly revealed this is not true. In fact, more studies are showing that the chemicals used in e-liquids are equally, if not more, dangerous to users.
The e-cig manufacturer JUUL is at the center of this controversy. Not only did researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine find that JUUL’s advertising was “patently youth oriented,” but JUUL has also been found to have lied about what is contained in its pods – namely, that even when a pod claims to be nicotine free, it still contains nicotine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports:
- “All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
- JUUL is one of a few e-cigarettes that use nicotine salts, which allow particularly high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation than the free-base nicotine that has traditionally been used in tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
- Approximately two-thirds of JUUL users aged 15 – 24 do not know that JUUL always contains nicotine.”
E-cig flavoring chemicals linked to respiratory illnesses
JUUL has always offered “fun” flavors in its e-cigs – strawberry lemonade, cappuccino, grape, etc. – to entice users. One of the primary ingredients in many flavored e-cig liquids is Diacetyl. Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found diacetyl in more than 75% of all flavored electronic cigarette liquids.
Diacetyl is one of the primary causes of the condition “popcorn lung” (bronchiolitis obliterans), an incurable and irreversible lung disease that can making breathing difficult.
JUUL claims on its website that its flavors do not contain Diacetyl, listing the vague-sounding “naturally occurring and artificial flavor ingredients” instead. It does not, however, explain what these compounds are. Furthermore, JUUL also claimed that it had nicotine-free pods, and the CDC proved that this was false.
Lung injuries associated with nicotine and THC vapor
The CDC is investigating the links between lung injuries and vaping. Per their most recent information:
- “There are 805* lung injury cases reported from 46 states and 1 U.S. territory. Twelve deaths have been confirmed in 10 states.
- CDC has received sex and age data on 771 patients.
- 16% of patients are under 18 years.
- CDC has received data on substances used in e-cigarettes or vaping products in the 30 days prior to symptom onset among 514 patients.
- About 77% reported using THC-containing products; 36% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.
- About 57% reported using nicotine-containing products; 16% reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products.”
What some investigations have found is that, regardless of whether the e-liquid contained nicotine or THC, the majority of the cases involved unsafe e-liquids. For years, vaping liquids went largely unregulated, and companies which produced these liquids guarded their recipes as trade secrets.
According to an article in Salon Magazine:
Some of the chemicals in flavors used to add flavor to vaping are billed by manufacturers as safe because the FDA has approved them for ingestion. Yet no one knows for sure if you can breathe the same chemicals safely, and many chemicals approved for ingestion become toxic after combustion….
Erika Sward, National Assistant Vice President of Advocacy at the American Lung Association, told Salon the mysterious severe lung disease is the consequence of the industry being unregulated for so long.
“The fact that e-cigarette have been allowed to be in this unregulated quasi-state for so long is really why we are here now,’ Sward said. ‘Because the FDA took forever to assert authority over e-cigs and then delayed the review of each of these products is really at the heart of why we are having this cluster of illnesses.”
Why work with McGowan, Hood & Felder on your defective e-cig claim?
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury or developed an illness related to defective e-cigarette products like JUUL, McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC wants to help you. We have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of the catastrophically injured in South Carolina and nationwide, including victims of defective products.
How much is my JUUL injury claim worth?
As in any injury lawsuit, there is no way to determine how much a claim could be worth without first looking at all of the facts. However, if you file an individual lawsuit, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Property losses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Contact McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC if you were harmed by a defective e-cig or JUUL product
McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC handles complex product liability claims on behalf of the catastrophically injured. If you or a loved one used JUUL or another electronic nicotine delivery system and developed a life-altering injury or sustained serious injuries, we are ready to fight for you. Please call 864-651-9295 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation at one of our offices throughout South Carolina.