New Jersey teen Matthew Divello has filed a federal lawsuit against JUUL, the manufacturer of e-cigarettes, claiming the company’s social media marketing practices led to his nicotine addiction, health problems and a three-day stay in the hospital.
“Matthew’s health has been put at risk by a company that simply didn’t care about the welfare of its key targets, the teenagers of America,” said Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm in Houston. “JUUL clearly was only concerned about sales and marketing, not safety and warnings. The result was a dangerous, pervasive product that quickly met its goal of getting young people addicted to nicotine.”
The lawsuit says Mr. Divello began using JUUL products in 2017 while a junior in high school. At that time, there were no warnings on the product’s packaging about nicotine or the risks of nicotine addiction. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes, initially marketed in flavors such as fruit medley and crème brulee, contain three times more nicotine than a pack of cigarettes marketed to adults.
In the past 18 months, Mr. Divello suffered from behavioral and cognitive problems, and declining academic status. In August, during his hospitalization, Mr. Divello battled fever, nausea, and severe vomiting, all symptoms tied to high levels of nicotine. The lawsuit notes that this exposure leads to lifelong risks for heart disease, stroke, cancer and depression, as well as long-term treatment for such conditions.
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