While e-cigarettes and vaping have certainly grown from a fad into a trend, the popularity has resulted in many teens wanting to get in on what they’re being told they’re too young for.
However, as a few recent lawsuits against the most popular e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL claim, the products are designed to be attractive to teens, in order to addict a new generation of smokers, or vapers. One lawsuit out of Florida claims that a 14-year old got addicted to JUUL products, and as a result, started having seizures again (she had previously had seizures related to a medical condition, but had not had one for years prior to becoming addicted).
It is no secret that Altria, one of the biggest cigarette makers in the world, is seeking to invest nearly $13 billion into JUUL and acquire a major stake in the company. Curiously (or perhaps not), the recent lawsuits against JUUL have been described as being similar to the early lawsuits filed against the big tobacco companies. Notably, the lawyers claim the lawsuits aren’t similar, but rather that the companies engaged in similar conduct.
The major allegations of the lawsuits against JUUL stem from the companies marketing, packaging, and flavors, which it is claimed, are designed to be attractive to teens. The Florida lawsuit even shows side by side images of cigarette and JUUL ads using similar designs. Shockingly, despite teen smoking having been on the decline, teen vaping has been steadily rising. Like the young teen in the Florida lawsuit, many teens start vaping before they realize how addictive nicotine can be, or that they are even vaping nicotine at all.
A New Generation of New Smokers
The fact is that teens have taken up vaping to the point where it is being declared an epidemic. For parents, one of the big problems is that vaping, especially with products like JUUL, can be done rather secretly, as the devices are small and the odor does not linger. And though it is illegal to sell these products to minors, and some places have even banned sales entirely of flavored vaping liquid, the more attractive the products are to teens, the more likely it is that the teens will find ways to get their hands on them.