In recent years, the popularity of e-cigarettes like JUUL has increased with claims that they pose no negative health consequences and are less addictive than combustible cigarettes. Recently, JUUL has come under fire from government regulators for engaging in questionable marketing practices that include marketing claims based on unproven findings and targeting minors. Further, e-cigarette companies like JUUL have failed to disclose health risks that their products present to consumers purchasing them. Many consumers, had they known the truth about the undisclosed health risks presented, would have acted differently and not purchased the products in the quantities they ultimately did.
If you have or currently use JUUL e-cigarettes, we’d like to hear from you to assist in our investigation and evaluate whether you can seek compensation from JUUL for false advertising. Fill out the free Case Review Form by clicking here or call 1.424.903.2023 or to speak to a legal professional concerning your possible claim.
We Fought Big Tobacco Before…and Won
Our firm has experience taking on Big Tobacco in court. In the 1990s, our law firm joined with other law firms and state attorneys general in what was known as the third wave of tobacco litigation. In 1998, that litigation resulted in a landmark settlement between Big Tobacco and 46 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia in 1998. As of July 2018, Big Tobacco, including Philip Morris (now known as Altria), have paid over $126 billion to the settling states which has funded public health and education programs across the country. In addition, the settlement stopped Big Tobacco’s deceptive youth marketing aimed at recruiting “replacement smokers.”
Our firm is also leading a nationwide class action against Santa Fe Tobacco’s Natural American Spirits cigarettes for its false and deceptive marketing of American Spirits cigarettes as a natural, safer, and additive-free.
The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that current litigation against JUUL “could mark the beginnings of a legal strategy similar to the one used by lawyers, state attorneys general and the federal government in the 1990s, when they sued the four largest U.S. cigarette manufacturers: [major JUUL investor,] Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard. The actions collectively won billions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for sick smokers and their families, forced the tobacco industry to scale back advertising on billboards and at sporting events, and prohibited tobacco companies from claiming their products are not addictive.”
Big Tobacco Now Owns JUUL
Since JUUL’s introduction of an e-cigarette market with its state of the art nicotine delivery system and flavored vapor pods in 2015, it transformed into a $38 billion company due in part to a major investment by Altria (formerly Philip Morris). Altria remains one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco and cigarettes, including the Marlboro brand, and now owns a reported 35% of JUUL. JUUL has been accused of directly marketing to minors and touting unproven benefits of its products to consumers’ health. Recently, a Stanford University marketing professor reported that JUUL’s CEO acknowledged that its marketing was “ripped off” of Big Tobacco marketing.
In April of 2018, JUUL became the subject of heightened FDA attention, which includes increased enforcement of illegal sales to minors and efforts to hold manufacturers accountable. Some of the marketing strategies that allegedly targeted minors are advertisements on social media and the use of flavors in its products. It is estimated that 3.6 million middle school and high school kids now use e-cigarettes.
Recent news reports reveal that e-cigarettes present safety risks to the user. For example:
These safety risks are not disclosed to consumers prior to the time of sale. We believe that reasonable consumers, had they been informed of the health risks presented in advance, would have chosen not to purchase JUUL products.
Finally, although JUULs are marketed as a nicotine cessation product, some researchers have found no link in using e-cigarettes and quitting smoking. In fact, studies have shown that using e-cigarettes are “associated with significantly less quitting among smokers.”
Currently, some of the claims being investigated are whether JUUL:
- Violated consumer protection laws by failing to disclose material facts about the health and safety risks JUUL products expose consumers to;
- Falsely advertised and failed to disclose how much nicotine its products contained;
- Led consumers to falsely believe that its products could be used without negative health consequences;
- Led consumers to falsely believe that the products were less addictive than traditional cigarettes;
- Led consumers to falsely believe that the products were no more addictive than any other e-cigarettes;
- Led consumers to falsely believe that they would be able to stop using and purchasing JUUL products at any time; and/or
- Led consumers to falsely believe that its products were smoking cessation devices.
How We Can Help
If you have or currently use JUUL e-cigarettes, we’d like to hear from you to assist in our investigation. Fill out the free case review form below or call 1.800.887.8029 to speak to a legal professional concerning your possible claim. Zimmerman Reed has nearly 40 years of experience handling consumer protection claims and claims against the tobacco industry in particular. We are available to answer any questions you may have and help you with your legal claims.
(Note: Zimmerman Reed is not representing individuals who assert that they have suffered physical injuries such as cancer or addiction as a result of using a JUUL product.)
In The News
July 26. 2019: In the ‘JUUL room’: E-cigarettes spawn a form of teen addiction that worries doctors, parents and schools, washingtonpost.com
June 20, 2019: JUUL’s New Marketing Is Straight Out of Big Tobacco’s Playbook, theatlantic.com
May 30, 2019: JUUL exposed: How Big Vape took a page from Big Tobacco’s old ad playbook
May 17, 2019: JUUL e-cigarette maker sees its valuation top $38B, nypost.com
April 21, 2019: Mounting lawsuits against JUUL reminiscent of early tobacco litigation
July 28, 2018: The wildly popular e-cig startup JUUL is valued at $15 billion, but it faces a growing backlash of lawsuits and investigations, businessinsider.com
February 26, 2018: Scientists are beginning to learn how vaping impacts your health — and the results are troubling, businessinsider.com
The Fight Against Big Tobacco Is Not Over
Tobacco products continue to kill more than 7 million people per year around the world and more than 480,000 in the United States – 1,300 per day. JUUL-owner Altria commands 50% of the U.S. market and Philip Morris International has 15% of the international market. Their combined market share suggests that their products are responsible for over 1.2 million tobacco-related deaths per year.