18-Year-Old With ‘Lungs Of 70-Year-Old’ Sues Juul For Deceptively Advertising E-Cigarettes And Causing Vaping-Related Sickness
A teenager claims that he is suffering a pulmonary illness and he says it is all because of e-cigarettes. The 18-year-old launched a lawsuit against e-cigarette company Juul for deceptive advertising.
Adam Hergenreder, an 18-year-old from Gurnee, Illinois, is suing the San Francisco-based Juul for their marketing practices. The lawsuit alleges that Juul’s advertising was done so with young people in mind and for not warning people about the dangers of vaping.
Hergenreder recently became ill because of a vaping-related sickness after using e-cigarettes for a year-and-a-half. Hergenreder was hospitalized late last month for nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and shivers. Doctors allegedly told him that the 18-year-old student-athlete had the lungs of a 70-year-old man because of his vaping habits.
“If his mother had not brought him to the hospital within the next two to three days, his breathing could have worsened to the point that he could have died if he didn’t seek medical care,” said Dr. Stephen Amesbury.
“It was scary to think about that — that little device did that to my lungs,” Hergenreder said. X-rays of his lungs found “significant damage.”
Hergenreder, who was a student wrestler, said he “might not ever be able to wrestle because that’s a very physical sport and my lungs might not be able to hold that exertion. It’s sad.”
“I’m 18 years old. My lungs are like a 70-year-old’s,” Hergenreder said from his hospital bed. “My lungs will never be the same.” Hergenreder said he first started vaping “because everyone else was doing it” and he was unaware of any health risks from e-cigarettes.
The teenager admitted that he used both nicotine and THC products when he vaped. He started vaping over-the-counter e-liquids then moving to THC, which he got from a drug dealer.
The lawsuit argues that Juul never fully disclosed that their products contained dangerous chemicals. “To put it mildly, Adam didn’t stand a chance to avoid getting hooked on these toxic timebombs,” said Hergenreder’s lawyer, Antonio Romanucci. The lawsuit alleges that Juul used a social media campaign to reach a younger demographic.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in Lake County Circuit Court in Illinois.
Juul responded to the lawsuit with a statement that said the company had “never marketed to youth.” The e-cigarette company argued that its products helped people stop using traditional cigarettes.
There have been more than 380 cases of vaping-linked lung illness reported in 36 U.S. states as of September 11, 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There have been six vaping-related deaths in six states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon.
The legal case also accused a gas station in Waukegan, Illinois, of regularly selling Hergenreder nicotine-based Juul products when he was under the legal age of 18.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s administration announced that they would ban flavored e-cigarettes. On Friday, President Trump tweeted out: “While I like the Vaping alternative to Cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is SAFE for ALL! Let’s get counterfeits off the market, and keep young children from Vaping!”
No single product or ingredient has been identified. A number of the people who have gotten sick admitted that they had used black market e-cigarettes that they bought on the street. Many have argued that banning e-cigarettes would turn the previously legal substances illegal and making all of the e-cigarettes black market products, blurring the line as to which products are more or less dangerous.
It should be noted that “cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day,” according to the CDC.