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Domenic B. Sanginiti, Jr. is an associate and member of the Accident & Personal Injury Group.

Amidst growing lawsuits and a call for a ban of vaping by the American Medical Association, journalists from the LA Times have reviewed over 3,000 internal records from leading vape company Juul and discovered that their proprietary formula was based on 40-year old nicotine research pioneered by R.J. Reynolds, the manufacturer of Camel cigarettes.

Scrutiny of the popular vaping brand has been increasing. Since 2018, Juul has been the subject of concerns from numerous research and regulatory bodies regarding their claims to offer a less addictive alternative to cigarettes. Most notable include a warning letter from the FDA stating that the company violated federal regulations because it hadn’t secured federal approval to promote and sell its products as a healthier option. According to the FDA letter, Juul’s claims include referring to its products as “99% safer than cigarettes, “much safer” than cigarettes, “totally safe,” and “a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes.”


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Siddharth Breja, former SVP of Finance at Juul, filed a multi-claim lawsuit against the company alleging that Juul sold contaminated liquid pods with total disregard for the “law, public safety, and public health.” Breja claims Juul sold 1 million of the mint-flavored, contaminated pods, as well as pods that were expired or nearly expired. He also claims he was fired as a whistleblower for warning against the “illegal” activity. The claims include:

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To date, the CDC has reported over 1200 cases of rapid onset “Vape Lung” disease, including over 26 deaths. While the exact cause is not yet identified, all cases are linked vaping.

The outbreak inspired several states to institute restrictive bans on the sale of e-cigarettes, including a full ban by Massachusetts (recently overturned by the courts).

It is important to keep focused on those being injured by vape products during this interminable FDA paralysis period.


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While the FDA continues to do nothing to protect consumers from the health risks associated with vaping, the States of America are exercising their independent powers to protect their residents. Their actions are in response to the CDC’s recent report of over 1200 cases of rapid-onset lung disease caused by vaping, including over 26 deaths. The youngest victim was a 17-year-old boy in New York.

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On October 1st, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1080 cases of Vape Lung Disease, including 18 deaths. Many of these cases, some claim up to 80%, are suspected to be related to cannabis vaping products. Just like the nicotine e-cigarette industry, the liquids and chemicals in cannabis vape products are not regulated. Some health organizations suggest that the chemicals in vaping liquids combined with unknown chemicals added to cannabis products may be at the heart of the increase in illnesses in cannabis users. Others attribute the disease to e-cigarette/vape product designs that use high heat levels to “vape” liquids. The high heat vaping process creates unusual chemical reactions that may cause damage to lungs. In terms of cannabis products, it’s likely a double-whammy because the cannabis industry has historically operated in illegal settings with zero oversight and a fair number of bad actors, i.e., people who grow or lace products with unknown chemicals.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that over 1,000 people became ill from vaping e-cigarettes, including 18 deaths. Now, research by the Mayo Clinic of Arizona suggests the lung damage may be the result of chemical burns.

The CDC announced that 77% of the injured vapers were using e-cigarettes with tobacco and THC products, and 17% were using only nicotine. The CDC partnered with state-based health care services and research hospitals to try to determine the cause of the recent spike in vaping lung damage cases.


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If you were surprised to hear that Juul’s CEO, Kevin Burns, publicly told people not to vape or use his products, you were not alone. It is quite rare for a company to recommend against supporting its profit margins. This is especially true for a company that has been under intense scrutiny for predatory marketing practices and a link to the meteoric rise of teen e-cigarette use. It begs the question, “Why?” Why is Juul so suddenly changing its spots? Could Juul truly and authentically have morphed into an ambassador of health and wellness?

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In yet another example of U.S. states and localities filling the empty shoes of the FDA, Michigan has banned all e-cigarette flavors within its borders. Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, made a public statement as follows, “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe. Right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today.”

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In response to a spate of chemical pneumonia cases that hospitalized 16 people, the city of Milwaukee advised all of its residents to “Stop Vaping Immediately.” All 16 patients reported vaping or dabbing (with THC) prior to symptoms that required hospitalization.

The CDC has also issued an advisory warning because the Wisconsin incidents are part of nationwide outbreak of a mysterious lung illness associated with vaping. According to the CDC, as of Sept. 6, 2019, there were over 450 reported cases of vape-related aberrant pneumonias and lung conditions, with at least 5 deaths. According to reports, most of the patients are young, and were healthy prior to hospitalization.


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A Baylor College of Medicine study, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), shows chronic exposure to e-cigarette vapors damages lungs and lowers immune response to pathogens. The four-month study, which did not address the additional harms caused by nicotine, revealed that vaping alters the composition of epithelial and immune cells of the lungs, causing a buildup of lipids (insoluble fat) that affect lung function and reduce the ability to fight off infection.

The study proposes the cause of the lung cell malfunction is linked to the vaping liquids which contain solvents such as propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG). These types of solvents are FDA-approved for ingestion, not inhalation. E-cigarette liquids are also known to contain a host of unknown chemicals that may cause further damage.


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