Thomas McCullough has filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs, alleging that the e-cigarette giant got his teenage son hooked on e-cigarettes.
According to the lawsuit, Juul Labs could have developed a product with lower levels of nicotine that was not as attractive to teenagers, such as that the product came in candy flavors.
The suit also alleges that the company could have designed “an e-cigarette that did not gratuitously flash rainbow colors when waved around.”
The lawsuit says that when McCullough’s son, William, took his first Juul hit, the e-cigarettes had already been taken out of the package. The Juul pod or Juul device did not contain any nicotine warning signs.
The lawsuit says that once William became addicted to e-cigarettes, he got anxious, irritable and was prone to outbursts. When he tried to quit, he suffered bad headaches and is now worried about lifelong health problems because of his nicotine addiction.
Juul challenged the allegations in an emailed statement, saying that their main goal is to serve as an alternative to traditional cigarettes for adults.
“We have never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products,” company spokesman Ted Kwong said in an email. He added that last year, the company embarked on a campaign to combat underage use.
This isn’t the first time Juul Labs has been accused of making their products addictive to teens. Earlier this month, an Ohio mom filed a lawsuit against the company for marketing to her teen daughters and failing to warn consumers about the high nicotine levels in their products.
Rene Chaney said that her daughters, now 16, started using the e-cigarettes in April 2016 and became addicted within a week. They started experiencing mood swings, migraines and behavioral issues.
“Their nicotine addiction from Juul permanently injured and altered their young, vulnerable, and developing brains,” attorneys wrote. “In addition to their severe nicotine addiction and brain injuries, they have suffered harm through exposure to significant toxic substances, which may cause or contribute to causing disease and future health problems.”