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JUUL Lung Damage and Side Effects

Vaping is being linked with heart attack, stroke, lung damage and new lung diseases, asthma, seizures and more.

JUUL Labs is the manufacturer of JUUL vape devices and JUUL vape pods.  JUUL is available in multiple kid-friendly flavors such as fruit flavors and dessert flavors.  Riding a large and successful marketing campaign aimed at young Americans, JUUL has grown to capture the vast majority of the American vaping market, hooking tens of millions of teens and young adults on nicotine.  Nicotine use among children has increased several hundred percent since JUUL was introduced to the market.

Unfortunately, despite JUUL advertising their vape devices as “safe” to children at schools, vaping is proving to be very unsafe, with a potential risk factor similar to traditional cigarettes. The risks of nicotine addiction and vaping include addiction, seizures, heart attack, stroke, asthma, pneumonia and death.

Levin Simes Abrams has filed dozens of cases on behalf of those injured, and the families of victims who died from vaping.  We are investigating hundreds of additional cases of heart attack, stroke, asthma, underage addiction, and lung infections including pneumonia.

If you or a loved one was injured after vaping or juuling, contact the JUUL lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams today. You can reach us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if there is a recovery.

JUUL Nicotine Addiction and the Underage Brain

While JUUL heavily marketed its product as a safe alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes, despite lacking the data to support this statement, the often-overlooked ingredient, nicotine, should not be ignored.  Particularly among users under the age of 26.

Because nicotine is not cancer causing in and of itself, its harmful effects are frequently unknown by the general public.  The lack of awareness is also is due, in part, to the tobacco industry’s decades-long denial that nicotine is addictive.  It was not until the Surgeon General issued a report on nicotine addiction in 1988 that there was a consensus that nicotine is highly addictive.[1]   Not only did the report conclude nicotine is highly addictive; it also concluded the physiological and behavioral processes that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine heroin and cocaine addiction.[2]

Nicotine poses particular harm to youth and young adult smokers.  The human brain is not fully developed until age 25.  Nicotine from e-cigarettes, like Juul, can lead to addiction, harm to brain development, and change the way the brain functions in users under the age of 26.[3]  It fosters addiction via the brain’s “reward” pathway.  Nicotine, both a stimulant and a relaxant, affects the central nervous system; increases blood pressure, pulse, and metabolic rate; constricts blood vessels of the hair and skin; and causes muscle relaxation.

When nicotine is inhaled, it enters the bloodstream through membranes in the mouth and upper respiratory tract through the lungs.  Once in the bloodstream, nicotine reaches the brain, binds to receptors, and triggers a series of physiologic effects in the user that are perceived as a “buzz” or “high” that can induce happiness, arousal, and reduction of stress and anxiety.  These effects are caused by the release of dopamine, acetylcholine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, vasopressin, serotonin, and beta endorphin.  With regular nicotine use, these feelings diminish over time and the user must consume increasingly larger amounts of nicotine to achieve the same pleasurable effect.

Once the brain is addicted to nicotine, the absence of it causes compulsive, drug-seeking behavior.  It also causes withdrawal symptoms, which include but are not limited to suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, stress, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations, and tremors.  Nicotine affects neurological development in adolescents, and exposure to nicotine during adolescence produces an increased vulnerability to nicotine addiction.[4]

Adolescent nicotine addiction causes “substantial neural remodeling,” including those parts of the brain governed by dopamine or acetylcholine, which play central roles in reward functioning and cognitive function.  Adolescent smokers are found to have weakened neural responses including “diminished sensitivity to non-drug rewards.”[5]  Other brain changes from nicotine include increased sensitivity to other drugs and heightened impulsivity.  “Brain imaging on adolescents suggest that those who begin smoking regularly at a young age…perform less well on tasks related to memory and attention compared to people who don’t smoke.”[6]

Brain imaging studies of adolescents who began smoking at a young age also showed markedly reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, an area critical for a person’s cognitive behavior and decision making, leading to increased sensitivity to other drugs and greater impulsivity.[7]  In short, nicotine use among youth and young adults can affect a child’s attention, memory, and cognition; and nicotine likely underlies the aforementioned impairments in attentional and cognitive function.[8]  Youth e-cigarette smokers report feelings of restlessness, irritability, heightened cravings, and anxiety.[9]   A 2016 Surgeon General’s report found youth use of nicotine in any form, including via Juul and other e-cigarettes, is unsafe, causes addiction, and can harm the developing adolescent brain.[10]

Another reason Juul poses a unique threat to teens is its patented formula of nicotine. While other brands use a chemically modified form called “freebase nicotine,” Juul uses “nicotine salts” that more closely resemble the natural structure of nicotine found in tobacco leaves. This makes the nicotine more readily absorbed into the bloodstream and makes the vapor less harsh so that it is easier to inhale more nicotine for longer periods of time.

In addition to this patented formula, Juul pods contain a greater amount of benzoic acid, 44.8 mg/mL, compared to other e-cigarette brands, which are in the range of 0.2 to 2 mg/mL. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzoic acid is known to cause coughs, sore throat, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting if exposure is constant, which is the case when using a Juul.[11]   This is due to how Juuls utilize the properties of benzoic acid to increase the potency of the nicotine salts in its e-liquid.

Whether the cognitive deficits associated with nicotine use are lifelong or can be reversed with discontinued use remains to be determined.  What we do know is that the brain of adolescents reacts differently to nicotine exposure than that of adults.  Given that a youth’s successes or failures during adolescence can forever change the trajectory of one’s life – engaging in criminal behavior, using or abusing other drugs in addition to nicotine, substantial decreases in academic performance, etc. – it is important that the public, including youth, their parents, and teachers, know the risks associated with Juul and the significant impacts it can have on one’s life and relationships.

[1] The Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction (USDHHS 1988).

[2] Id.

[3] Neal L. Benowitz, Pharmacology of Nicotine: Addiction, Smoking-Induced Disease, and Therapeutics, 49 Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 57 (2009); Mariam Arain et al., Maturation of The Adolescent Brain, 9 Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 449 (2013).

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Erin Brodwin, An E-Cigarette with Twice the Nicotine of Comparable Devices is Taking Over High Schools and Scientists are Sounding the Alarm, Business Insider (April 30, 2018), https://www.businessinsider.com/juul-e-cig-vaping-health-effects-2018-3

[7] Musso F, Bettermann F, Vucurevic G, et al. (2007). Smoking impacts on prefrontal attentional network function in young adult brains. Psychopharmacology. 2007;191(1): 159-169.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16937098

[8] E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults (USDHHS 2016).

[9] Piasecki TM, Hedeker D, Dierker LC, Mermelstein RJ. Progression of nicotine dependence, mood level, and mood variability in adolescent smokers. Psychol Addict Behav. 2016.

[10] E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults (USDHHS 2016).

[11] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Safety material data sheet: Benzoic acid. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0103.html

Vape and JUUL Lawyer

If you have suffered a serious vape injury or a family member has a serious vape addiction, contact the vape lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams. We investigate cases of vaping lung injury, vaping lung infection, vape mod battery fire, seizure from vaping, stroke from vaping, heart attack caused by vaping, and addiction in minors and young adults. Contact us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page.

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JUUL Seizures

Nicotine is a known cause of seizures, particularly nicotine poisoning or when someone absorbs too much nicotine into their system. People without a history of long term nicotine use are particularly at risk from high doses of nicotine. The FDA is investigating hundreds of cases of JUUL vaping causing seizures, and our firm accepts cases of seizure after vaping in minors and young adults. Contact us for a free seizure from vaping legal consultation.

JUUL pods are estimated to contains as much nicotine as 1.5 packs of traditional cigarettes, or 30 cigarettes per pod.  It is not uncommon for our firm to hear of newly addicted teens using up to 2 pods a day (or more), which is the nicotine equivalent of 3 packs a day.  Previously, it was effectively impossible for a minor to consume such a high nicotine dose per day, as they would need to light one cigarette off the last one even while sitting in a classroom.

Health Risks from a Seizure From Vaping

The results of seizures include permanent health effects and death. People predisposed to seizures due to other medical conditions or medical diagnosis are at an elevated risk of seizure from vaping.

Seizure effects can include:

  • Confusion or staring
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of awareness
  • Cognitive or emotional symptoms, such as fear or anxiety

Seizure Health Risks:

  • If seizures can’t be stopped or occur repeatedly, permanent injury or death can occur.
  • Problems that occur during or after a seizure, including vomiting and choking.
  • Falls, slips or other injuries from having a seizure in an unsafe location, at an unsafe time (such as driving), or while ambulating.

Vaping Seizure Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured after vaping or juuling, contact the JUUL lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams today. You can reach us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if there is a recovery.

JUUL Heart Attack

Much of the debate regarding the relative health risks of vaping versus cigarettes has been framed around the lungs, specifically carcinogens causing lung cancer, meanwhile ignoring the very real effects that vaping and cigarette smoke have on the rest of the body and on other lung diseases.   One in every three cigarette smoking deaths is cardiovascular (including a stroke or heart attack), so it is important to research and determine whether vaping has the ability to cause cardiovascular risks similar to cigarette smoke.  A group of researchers at West Virginia University’s School of Medicine set out to determine just that.  Given the growing epidemic of vaping among teenagers and young adults, and the need to immediately investigate the long-term cardiovascular effects from vaping, the researchers opted to conduct an 8-month exposure study on mice, which is equivalent to 25 human years.

The mice were broken up into three exposure groups: (1) e-cig vapor, (2) cigarette smoke, and (3) clean, filtered air.  The starting age at exposure (13-14 weeks old), followed by 8 months of exposure (ending at 12 months old) represents exposure beginning at adolescence and continuing into adulthood.  In human terms, this is the same as a middle school-aged child continuing to smoke through early adulthood.  This is an ideal study design as vaping amongst kids is on the rise, with 3.8 million kids vaping overall, and 5% of middle school kids reporting chronic e-cigarette use.

Vaping Causes Heart Disease - Side Effects from Vaping - Vaping Heart Attack

The e-cig group of mice were exposed in whole-body chambers to e-cig vapor in amounts similar to what is reported by vape users, and then analyzed their blood vessels.  The researchers found that even low levels of exposure to e-cig vapor resulted in a 2.5 to 3-fold increase in arterial stiffness, similar to the level of risk found from exposure to traditional cigarette smoke.  Stiff vessels are the hallmark of cardiovascular disease and the clinical implication is that chronic vaping impairs vascular function much like cigarette smoke.

JUUL specifically designed their product to emulate a cigarette as much as possible, testing repeatedly to ensure their product created similar spikes in nicotine absorption into the blood, similar spikes in heart rate changes from the dose. Given they tried to mimic every aspect of what happens in your cardiovascular system when you smoke a cigarette, is it surprising they may have succeeded in recreating the same arterial and cardiovascular damage from long term use?

It remains unknown exactly why low-level exposures to e-cig vapors causes such an increased risk in cardiovascular disease.  The researchers hypothesized one potential explanation for the increased risk may be that e-cigarettes, like cigarettes, produce high levels of ultrafine particulate matter, which are more easily brought into and out of the lung and penetrate more deeply than larger particles.  These ultrafine particles easily traverse the alveolar-capillary interface and gain direct access to vascular endothelial cells and the bloodstream.  Another possible explanation is that e-cigs contain nicotine, which is capable of inducing vascular dysfunction on its own and acutely increasing vascular wall stiffness.   Most vapers report going through at least one Juul pod per day, and a single Juul pod contains even more nicotine than a pack of cigarettes.   The results of the study were published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, and the researchers warned that the vaping industry’s representation that vaping is safer than cigarette smoke is in fact not true.

Vaping Heart Attack Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured after vaping or juuling, contact the JUUL lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams today. You can reach us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if there is a recovery.

JUUL Stroke, Brain Hemorrhage and Aneurysm

A February 2019 American Stroke Association report identified increased risk of stroke from vaping vs non-smokers.  Using federal research data from the Center for Disease Control’s 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Systems (BRFSS), researchers compared the rate of serious medical events of vapers vs non-smokers.

Vaping was associated with a large increased risk of stroke.  Compared to non-smokers vapers experienced a 71% increased risk of stroke.[1]

Vaping Increases Risk of Brain Hemorrhage and Aneurysm

A study in the October 2018 edition of Stroke notes nicotine can play a role in intracranial aneurysm ruptures.[2]

Cigarette smokers are frequently seen in data populations to suffer from higher rates of aneurysmal rupture, however the mechanism for how smoking cigarettes increases risk is not well established.

Researchers used mice to show that introduction of nicotine to the brain interacted with smooth muscle cells at the aneurysm site, and the results was increased rupture. Brain aneurysm rupture frequently causes death.

JUUL pods contain 5% nicotine by weight, or about 6% by volume. Most other e-juice manufacturers measure nicotine by volume, meaning JUUL is under reporting nicotine dose by industry standard expected by consumers. This is a very high dose of nicotine and if nicotine can cause aneurysms after being inhaled from a cigarette, it is not expected inhaling it from vape smoke would lower the risk.

References:

Vaping Stroke Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured after vaping or juuling, contact the JUUL lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams today. You can reach us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if there is a recovery.

JUUL Asthma

Similar to a cigarette, a JUUL vape device produces millions of particles which are inhaled with use.  Despite being marketed as “vapor”, which makes users think of harmless water vapor, the vape smoke is millions of chemical particles. This thick cloud of chemicals seeps into the lungs just like cigarette smoke.

Lung irritation, lung inflammation, and impaired ability for the lung to respond to particles gathering in tissue occurred similarly in cigarette smoke exposed lung tissue and vape smoke exposed lung tissue, according to a study in the journal Thorax [1].  The lack of a significant difference between vaping and smoking cigarettes in lung tissue is a disconcerting result, and could mean conditions such as asthma and emphysema will occur at similar rates in vapers as cigarette smokers.

Wrongful Death JUUL Lawsuit

Levin Simes Abrams has filed cases on behalf of families whose children have died after asthma attacks occurring during a vaping addiction.  We filed the first wrongful death lawsuit in the nation against JUUL Labs, for an addiction resulting in a fatal asthma attack. [2] JUUL Labs promoted these products as safe, including to kids on campus at school, with no warning about the risks of asthma or death.

Reference:

[1] Pro-inflammatory effects of e-cigarette vapour condensate on human alveolar macrophages

[2] Levin Simes Abrams files JUUL wrongful death lawsuit for fatal asthma attack

Vaping Asthma Lawyer

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with asthma or suffered an asthma attack after vaping, contact the JUUL lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams today. You can reach us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if there is a recovery.

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JUUL Lung Injury

In yet another blow to the potential “safe” vaping habit being promoted by JUUL, a study showed vaping mice suffered similar levels of lung tissue damage as cigarette smoke subjected mice.

Does vaping cause lung inflammation? Vaping mice point to yes - Levin Simes Abrams vape lawyer

Vaping Causes Lung Damage

Vaping causes lung inflammation, and multiple research articles and studies have shown that vaping increases inflammation in lung tissue.

Lung inflammation can be studied by testing the amount of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), Muc5ac production, lung oxidative stress markers and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR).  The mouse study evaluated each of these in the mice and the results showed vaping was associated with increased lung and cell inflammation. The study found mice who vaped had increased levels of each of these lung damage markers:

  • BALF: Used to evaluate toxic induced alterations and cellular damage in lungs
  • Muc5ac: Measure of mucus hypersecretion in the lungs that is linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Oxidative Stress: Lung oxidative stress that is linked to cancer, COPD and asthma in humans and animals.
  • AHR: Used to measure how easily bronchospasms are triggered. The hallmark condition associated with asthma, also occurs with COPD.

JUULing and Popcorn Lung

JUULing or vaping can also lead to other conditions.  If the e-juice contains diacetyl, use can lead to a permanent lung injury called Bronchiolitis Obliterans, also know as popcorn lung.

Numerous studies have found a strong link between the inhalation of diacetyl and the development of Bronchiolitis Obliterans. For example, one study found that exposure to diacetyl led to significant damage to the epithelium, the thinnest outer layer of tissue lining the bronchioles. The study also indicated that diacetyl can be the cause of peribronchial lymphocytic inflammation, or fibrohistiocytic lesions in the terminal bronchioles.[1] In other words, the exposure of diacetyl to mice was linked to injuries that mimic human Bronchiolitis Obliterans. A further study indicated that diacetyl can reach much deeper into human lungs than into rat lungs, exposing humans to a great risk of injury.[2]

Diacetyl has been discovered in “diacetyl free” e-juice, showing that what is in the chemical mix does not always match what vape companies are advertising. Additional irritants and carcinogens are being found in e-juices after being stored on shelves from chemical interactions, and more dangerous chemicals form when the e-juice is heated and inhaled.

References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18227102

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/flavorings/exposure.html

Does JUULing cause Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. Recent studies have indicated that vaping may not only mimic cigarettes in causing pneumonia and 10,000 additional deaths per year in the United States from pneumonia, but may cause it at much greater rates than smoking traditional cigarettes.

With some studies already showing vaping causes high levels of initial infection from rhinovirus, even higher than cigarette smoke, new studies are adding to this by testing vaping smoke against cigarette smoke at immune suppression.

Researchers set out to determine whether the same effects could be seen in human e-cigarette users and published their findings in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.  The study involved 39 healthy subjects between the ages of 18-50, with about equal number of non-smokers, e-cigarette/vape smokers, and cigarette smokers.  The e-cigarette industry markets e-cigarettes as “less harmful” than conventional cigarettes.  The researchers in this study, however, found that e-cigarette use results in suppression of immune and inflammatory-response genes similar to cigarette smoke.  In fact, vaping e-cigarettes was associated with suppression of 358 genes compared to 53 in cigarette smokers. These genes play important roles in the body’s immune system and defense responses against fungal, bacterial and viral infections.  The suppression of these genes, seven times as many in e-cigarette vape smoke vs traditional cigarettes, leads additional evidence to the fear pneumonia and lung infections may occur more often in vapers than smokers.

All 53 of the genes suppressed by cigarette smoke were suppressed by vaping.  That means vaping suppressed the same 53 genes plus an additional 305 more, an increase of 600%. Vaping suppressed seven time as many genes as cigarette smoke.

Vaping Lung Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured after vaping or juuling, contact the JUUL lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams today. You can reach us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if there is a recovery.

JUUL Illegal Marketing to Children

Due to decades of anti-tobacco campaigns, teen cigarette use declined substantially in the last 40 years and has reached an all-time low. But Big Tobacco is back at it again, finding new ways to profit at the detriment of teenagers. This time, the makers of Marlboro have joined forces with e-cigarette manufacturer, Juul Labs.

Juul found loopholes to keep its e-cigarette device out of the scope of the heavy regulations that controlled traditional cigarette marketing and advertising.  It developed and marketed a highly addictive e-cigarette product that could be packaged and sold to teens, as they are the most susceptible to nicotine addiction and highly likely to become life-long customers.  Juul manipulated the nicotine in its product to maximize addictiveness, while simultaneously removing the deterring qualities of traditional cigarettes such as the bad odor and irritation to one’s throat and lungs.

JUUL Labs had great success in their campaign to increase vaping, children vaping at school has increased nearly 250% in just two years, and vaping is now six times as common as cigarette use was before JUUL found success on the market.

Despite Juul’s recent contentions, a review of Juul’s prior marketing campaigns and design features make it clear that youth were the primary targeted demographic.  It looks nothing like a regular cigarette, and in fact looks like a USB drive – thus making it easy for kids to hide from their parents and teachers.  The scent does not linger on the body or breath like traditional cigarettes.  The Juul device heats a nicotine-filled liquid stored in a “Juul pod” which is sold separately from the device.  Juul pods come in kid-friendly flavors like mango, cool mint, fruit, and crème brulee.  For years, Juul sold its flavored product without any warning that it contained nicotine.  It delivers significantly higher concentrations of nicotine per puff than regular cigarettes.  In fact, one Juul pod contains even more nicotine than an entire pack of cigarettes.

Juul’s marketing tactics were specifically tailored to appeal to kids.  In 2015, Juul launched its “Vaporized” campaign advertising its product being used by young, cool, and attractive models.  Juul admitted that it looked at Big Tobacco’s historical marketing to come up with its own marketing plan. It did what Big Tobacco could no longer do – including advertising in New York’s Times Square with 12 brightly-colored billboards flashing images of young, attractive models enthusiastically vaping.  Juul threw 25 “launch parties” between July and December 2015 in New York, LA, Las Vegas and Miami, where it gave away over 125,000 Juul devices for free.

Again, a marketing strategy that Big Tobacco used to use that it was now prohibited from employing.  Juul invited social media influencers to attend these launch parties to popularize the Juul product, and set up animated GIF booths so that these influencers could take pictures and then share them with their millions of young social media followers.

What Juul did that’s different is it exploited social media, where American middle and high school kids live.  That was their innovation.” – Robert Jackler – Stanford School of Medicine

Juul used hashtags like #JUUL, #JUULnation, #Mango, and #Coolmint to reach the teen market on Twitter and Instragram, and allowed other accounts like @JuulNation to post tips and videos about “juuling,” including how to “juul in school.”

Juul unleashed an epidemic of youth vaping in ways other than social media as well.  It offered $10,000 to schools nationwide for a chance to enter schools and promote its product directly to teens in the classroom.  Juul also targeted kids it knew to be underage by sending follow-up marketing emails to visitors who had been kicked off the website due to 18+ age restrictions.

To say that juul use happened by accident or was nobody’s fault…I think is a little naïve…People were positioning these in a way in the marketplace that was appealing to kids.   Damage is done, trend is underway.” – Scott Gottlieb – former FDA Commissioner

Can I Sue JUUL for Injury?

If you or a loved one was injured after vaping or juuling, contact the JUUL lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams today. You can reach us at 1-888-426-4156, [email protected], or through this page. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if there is a recovery.