After agreeing to stop advertising in the US, e-cigarette manufacturer Juul is facing a lawsuit for the death of a teenager. The 18-year-old, Daniel Wakefield, “became intensely addicted” to the product and his mother has accused Juul of causing his death through its advertising.
Juul has faced criticism over its marketing practices, and has been accused of deliberately targeting children and young adults. This has resulted in new, strict guidelines being introduced in the US, including ID scanning and a ban on bulk purchases in vaping shops.
In addition, the recent cases of illnesses linked to vaping have led to calls for the US administration to do more to protect teenagers from the dangers of vaping. Companies like Juul have been at the forefront of this and critics believe they are contributing to the epidemic.
It has suggested that there could be a ban on the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes that are aimed at younger consumers, and the CDC has urged young people and non-smokers not to use e-cigarettes while the investigations are taking place.
In this lawsuit, the boy’s mother claims that, after being exposed to Juul advertising in 2015, her son’s behaviour “dramatically” changed and he slowly became “intensely addicted” to the products. Within a year, he ended up being hospitalised for three days.
In 2018, he was found in an unresponsive state and had “breathing complications”. Juul has been accused of “wrongful conduct in marketing, promoting, manufacturing, designing, and selling JUUL”, and the plaintiff is seeking damages from Juul for his death.
So far, the CDC, has reported 26 deaths from what it says are vaping related illnesses. Although health authorities are still trying to find the exact cause, most of the injuries that have occurred were in patients using products containing THC. Around 15% of the cases were in patients under 18 and 21% were aged 18-20.