An Illinois mother has filed the latest proposed class action lawsuit against Juul Labs, alleging users who exhale the “toxic” aerosol from the company’s nicotine vaporizer in confined spaces have exposed others to harmful toxins and potentially adverse health effects.
A Juul’s electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) heats and vaporizes the liquid contained in the defendant’s Juulpods, which is then inhaled by the user, the lawsuit begins. When a Juul user exhales the aerosol, what’s discharged into the air is a residue the lawsuit alleges is rife with “dangerous chemical compounds,” including nicotine and other toxins the plaintiff claims may be known carcinogens.
The plaintiff argues that those who use Juuls in confined spaces, particularly in high school bathrooms and classrooms, have exposed others to the nicotine and toxins in exhaled Juul vapor. According to the lawsuit, proposed class members “have suffered adverse health consequences and are substantially certain to suffer adverse health consequences in the future” due to their involuntary secondhand inhalation of Juul vapor.
According to the complaint, the concentration of nicotine in one Juulpod is greater than that in traditional tobacco products. A single Juulpod consumed within a few hours delivers the user roughly the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes, the complaint says. In effect, the case states, the Juul was designed to both deliver consistent nicotine dosages to users and avoid certain unfavorable attributes of traditional cigarettes, such as smoke, odor and waste from butts and ashes.
While traditional cigarette users ingest approximately 600 ingredients, the lawsuit says, Juul users inhale more than 30 toxins, some identified as carcinogens, that the plaintiff stresses are released into the ambient air upon exhaling. Per the suit, “medical studies” have shown that discharge exhaled by Juul users is not merely water vapor and “can and does cause injury to non-vaping individuals” in proximity. According to the lawsuit, Juul vapor includes:
Propylene glycol, an additive used in food, antifreeze and paint solvent;
Carcinogens acetaldehyde and formaldehyde;
Acrolein, an herbicide;
Diacetyl, a chemical linked to “popcorn lung”;
Nickel, tin and lead;
“As a result, individuals like Plaintiffs who do not use JUUL ENDS and avoid knowing exposure to JUUL ENDS Discharge nonetheless involuntarily are exposed to and breathe in nicotine and other toxins contained in the Discharge,” the complaint reads. “In most cases, the greater the degree of an individual’s exposure to the JUUL ENDS Discharge, the greater the likelihood that individual will be harmed by the nicotine and other toxins contained in the JUUL ENDS Discharge.”
The case claims the Juul discharge exhaled into the air by millions of Illinois residents in confined areas such as trains, buses, restrooms, classrooms, gyms and cafeterias has exposed millions more to the chemicals contained in Juul vapor.
The lawsuit looks to cover a class of Illinois residents who, since 2016, have not smoked tobacco products or used non-combustion tobacco products and did not consistently and voluntarily expose themselves to discharge from a Juul electronic nicotine delivery system.