In a stunning allegation a former Juul Labs executive has alleged that the vaping company knowingly shipped 1 million tainted nicotine pods to customers. This allegation comes in a lawsuit filed recently by lawyers representing Siddharth Breja, a one-time finance executive at the e-cigarette maker. The suit claims that Breja was terminated after opposing company practices, including shipping the contaminated flavored pods and not listing expiration dates on Juul products.
This most recent lawsuit comes as Juul already faces scores of lawsuits and federal scrutiny stemming from allegations it created a youth vaping epidemic. Medical officials nationwide are also trying to understand and treat a rash of lung illnesses tied to vaping devices that have sickened more than 1,600 users and caused 34 deaths. The Center for Disease control and prevention has linked many of these cases to black market THC products used in vaping, but health officials have not ruled out nicotine-based e-cigarettes as a culprit.
Studies, including a 2015 report by Environmental Health Perspectives, have found the toxic chemical diacetyl in many of the flavored e-cigarettes preferred by children. Diacetyl was previously linked to bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lung” in microwave popcorn plant workers. This is particularly troublesome given the popularity of flavored e-cigarettes with teens, where Juul controls approximately 75 percent of the market.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, among current tobacco product users, more than two million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes, with their use rising from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015 among high school students.
Breja’s lawsuit reinforces previous criticism of Juul Labs alleging that the company has ignored safety issues and attempted to cultivate the youth market in an attempt to maximize corporate profits. In a statement to the Washington Post, Breja’s attorney stated that “Mr. Breja became aware of very concerning actions within the company that could be jeopardizing the health of millions of Juul users.” But that after reporting them Juul Labs fired Breja under concocted, false pretenses.
The number of lawsuits facing Juul Labs is expected to grow. The suits have focused on nicotine levels, product liability, and marketing to children and teens. Across the nation state attorneys general, along with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, are also investigating Juul’s marketing practices.
The Surgeon General of the United States has gone so far as to declare vaping, and specifically youth vaping an epidemic. If you, your child, or a loved one are suffering from the consequences of vaping, which may include respiratory illness, seizures, nicotine addiction, or nicotine illness, you may be entitled to collect damages for the pain and suffering caused by the makers of these dangerous vaping products. Please call Saunders & Walker at 1-800-748-7115 for a free consultation.
Admitted to practice law in all federal multidistrict litigation courts, the California State Bar and the Florida Bar. His philosophy is to provide aggressive, quality representations and seek fair compensation for individuals and their families who have suffered injury, death, or sexual abuse.