Jared and Erin NesSmith of Sarasota have filed a lawsuit against e-cigarette giant JUUL after their 15-year-old daughter became addicted to their e-cigarettes.
The lawsuit says that the 15-year-old girl, Ashylnn, began using the company’s vaping products when she was 14 and didn’t know that they contained nicotine. She has had seizures at times after using the e-cigarettes and would unintentionally swallow the liquid inside the product.
The lawsuit alleges that JUUL exposed Ashlynn to toxic substances and got her addicted to nicotine. The suit adds that Ashlynn wouldn’t have bought the e-cigarettes if she had know the true facts about them.
“They fear JUUL, Altria and Philip Morris are working in concert to market and advertise JUUL to youth and teenagers and the Defendants’ association and marketing effort increase the likelihood that minor children will begin using e-cigarettes and become addicted,” stated the suit.
The lawsuit accuses JUUL of “having knowingly developed, sold, and promoted a product that contained nicotine levels in excess of cigarettes with the intention of creating and fostering long-term addiction to JUUL products for minors to continue that addiction into adulthood.”
Ashlynn’s parents say that her addiction has affected her health and schoolwork.
“Our daughter has gone from as a freshman, being a 4.2 GPA student in two clubs and being a varsity letterman on the softball team to withdrawing from school this year. Her behavior has completely changed,” said Jared.
Her parents say that her addiction has also re-ignated seizures that she didn’t have for years.
“It was on remission in my eyes, she hadn’t had a seizure in almost two years,” recalled Erin.
The parents claim that JUUL’s product design and attractive ad campaigns make the e-cigarettes alluring to teenagers.
A spokesperson for JUUl released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
“JUUL Labs is committed to eliminating combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world. Our product is intended to be a viable alternative for current adult smokers only. We do not want non-nicotine users, especially youth, to ever try our product. To this end, we have launched an aggressive action plan to combat underage use as it is antithetical to our mission. To the extent these cases allege otherwise, they are without merit and we will defend our mission throughout this process.”