FORT LAUDERDALE, FL / ACCESSWIRE / September 10, 2019 / In the wake of mounting evidence linking addiction to electronic cigarettes to health hazards coupled with a number of legal motions and a class-action lawsuits filed this spring against e-cigarette company JUUL Labs Inc., and tobacco giant Altria Group, Inc., the FDA Monday issued a warning letter admonishing the vaping company for illegally marketing its product as a safer alternative to cigarettes.
"We are happy to see the FDA stepping in. We have said for months that JUUL went to market without proper approval and now federal health officials agree," said Jonathan Gdanski, an attorney at Schlesinger Law Offices in Fort Lauderdale. "They say they're not targeting kids. But the success of their advertising and industry say otherwise."
In August, the firm filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking a federal court in Florida to ban the sale of JUUL electronic cigarettes nationwide. At the time, it was the first effort to halt what the U.S. Surgeon General and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb have called an "epidemic" among young users. Soon after the law firm filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against JUUL.
The firm filed the motion claiming JUUL and other e-cigarette makers have not applied for or received FDA premarket authorization to sell their electronic nicotine devices, as required under the Tobacco Control Act. Monday, the FDA agreed and the company has 15 days to respond to the agency.
Today representatives from the firm attended a meeting for the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health (ICSH) in Washington, DC. The agenda included discussions on empowering youth to prevent the use of emerging tobacco products, like Juul and other e-cigarettes.
"JUUL has captured a broad segment of the adolescent and teenage nicotine addiction market by applying the same techniques used by cigarette makers decades ago," said Scott Schlesinger, an attorney at Schlesinger Law Offices in Fort Lauderdale. "We saw the detrimental effects traditional smoking caused, and we are working hard to prevent history from repeating itself."
This past spring, Schlesinger filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the Nessmith family of Sarasota County, Fla. The suit claims JUUL and Altria, which owns Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris USA, Inc., continue to promote harmful products to the family's teenage daughter. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, seeks damages under the RICO Act and for fraud, product liability and deceptive trade practices. "JUUL knew that JUUL e-cigarettes were not safe for non-smokers, and posed a risk of aggravating addiction in those already addicted to cigarettes," the complaint reads.
In April, almost a dozen U.S. Senators launched an investigation into JUUL, slamming the company and CEO Kevin Burns for its marketing tactics, use of flavored products, and claims - without clinical evidence - that their products can be used as for tobacco cessation.
Concern about vaping's apparent harm is growing. Federal health officials are investigating vaping's possible links to a puzzling lung disease that has killed at least five people and sickened hundreds.
Big Tobacco and the vaping industry are undeniably successful marketers, Gdanski said. Data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that 78.2% of middle and high school students had been exposed to e-cigarette advertising, and one in five high schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2018. Use among middle schoolers increased eight-fold between 2011 and 2018. JUUL hold three-quarters of the e-cigarette market. So entrenched is the product, "Juuling" is a euphemism for vaping.
Meanwhile, for the $12.8 billion Altria paid for a 35% stake in the company late last year, JUUL today controls 72% of the vaping market as of August, according to Nielsen, and has forecast $3.4 billion in revenue this year, triple that of 2018.
ABOUT SCHLESINGER LAW OFFICES
Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Schlesinger Law Offices is a personal injury law firm dedicated to holding corporations, manufacturers and medical providers accountable for harm caused to members of the public by acts of negligence and misconduct. The firm has a reputation for powerful advocacy and has obtained justice and compensation for hundreds of clients. For more information, log on to www.schlesingerlawoffices.com or call (954) 866-5493.
SOURCE: Schlesinger Law Offices PA
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