Lauren CabreraManaging Editor

Everywhere you turn, people are vaping.  People are moving away from cigarettes and using e-cigarettes at an increasingly alarming rate.  Originally created to help avid nicotine addicts break the habit, electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among new smokers, including young teens.  A recent class action filed against JUUL in Florida is strongly deriving much of its case law from prior state and federal cases against the big tobacco companies. The complaint alleges that JUUL withheld information from product consumers regarding the addictive nature of its products.  Part of the complaint alleges that the company has undersold the dangers associated with using its products, particularly in underage users.  Among some of the causes of action alleged in the complaint are fraud and deceptive practices.  The complaint alleges that JUUL marketed its products as “non-addictive nicotine delivery systems” when defendants “knew it to be untrue.”  Additionally, JUUL has used advertising mechanisms to target the American youth through unregulated social media platforms.

Recently, an 18-year-old student from Florida warned other users of the dangers of vaping after one of his lungs collapsed due to his habitual use of the product.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention(“CDC”) has also spoken out against the use of JUUL’s explaining that it is deemed highly addictive and has become an epidemic among teenagers.  The CDC has expressed, that unless you are an adult smoker looking for a complete substitute to cigarettes, “[e]-cigarettes are not safe for [the] youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”  As of 2018, the CDC has seen an increase of about 5 million middle and high school students currently using tobacco products.

On the other side of the argument, the American Vaping Association is defending these lawsuits claiming that the flavored products which are highly appealable to teen users are important products which help adult smokers make the move quitting cigarettes all together.  Additionally, it argues that “legal vapes have been regulated by the FDA” since 2017 and that the true cause of these mysterious lung diseases is the result of “counterfeit e-cigarette products.”  This recent influx of litigation will surely force lawmakers to re-evaluate current vaping laws.  As a result, many lawyers planning on filing new lawsuits will surely turn to prior tobacco litigation case law in order to formulate their arguments in future filings.