A Mississippi teen says in a lawsuit he became addicted to nicotine through vaping and it’s a struggle to function without it.
The 18-year-old, listed in court documents as Braa Issa, said he began using JUUL electronic cigarettes in 2018. The court documents didn’t indicate where the teen is from in Missisisppi.
Issa is suing JUUL Labs Inc., Pax Labs, Inc., Altra Group, Inc., and Philip Morris USA, Inc.
The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in Jackson. It’s the second lawsuit filed in Mississippi over vaping. Both lawsuits accuse JUUL and others of targeting youths for their vaping products.
Mississippi school district filed class-action lawsuit against JUUL earlier this month
The Jefferson County School District filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month against JUUL Labs and others, saying the school district has been directly affected by the surge in youth vaping and is now confronting the costs in addressing and responding to the epidemic.
San Francisco-based JUUL Labs said in statements that its product is an alternative to traditional cigarettes for adults. It supports raising the age to 21 for anyone to purchase and using vaping products, it says.
JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette that can be shaped like a USB flash drive or other devices. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine-containing liquid to produce an aerosol that is inhaled, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Both Issa and the Jefferson County School District lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in Mississippi, were transferred Wednesday to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California where multidistrict litigation against JUUL is being coordinated and consolidated.
Lawsuit cites JUUL’s advertising
Issa’s lawsuit said he was exposed to JUUL’s advertising and promotional efforts while in high school.
“These ads and promotions made JUUL seem fun, healthy and cool,” Issa’s lawsuit states. “He remembers that the ads were colorful and featured young people using JUUL, and the ads made it seem like JUUL was something he wanted to try.”
Prior to vaping, Issa said he was unaware the product contained nicotine and toxic compounds.
After using JUUL, Issa’s lawsuit states he became severely addicted to nicotine, causing him to increase his use over time and his reliance on the device and the nicotine it provided, even reaching a pod a day.
“Plaintiff uses JUUL within minutes after he wakes up in the morning and continues using JUUL constantly throughout the day,” Issa’s lawsuit states. “Plaintiff now struggles to function without nicotine. Without regular nicotine dosing, plaintiff experiences strong cravings, irritability, and restlessness from withdrawal. Plaintiff is now addicted to nicotine and is unable to stop vaping.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, but doesn’t specify an amount.
No vaping for minors, Brandon, Flowood ordinances say
In the Jackson metro area, both Brandon and Flowood have passed ordinances to prohibit vaping products for minors under 18 and for students under the age of 21.
Also, nationally, as of Dec. 10, CDC has reported a total of 2,409 people have been hospitalized with a vaping-related lung illness, resulting in 52 deaths. In Mississippi, 11 people have been diagnosed with the illness and one death has been confirmed.
The Mississippi Department of Health said latest national and state findings suggest that products containing THC that were obtained from informal sources (friends, family, online dealers, etc.) are linked to most of the lung illness cases and play a major role in the outbreak.
Jimmie E. Gates/Clarion Ladger