Class action lawsuit says e-cigarette companies target minors

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WEST VIRGINIA (WDVM) — On August 13, a class-action lawsuit was filed in West Virginia against three vape manufacturing companies; Juul Labs, Inc., Altria Group, Inc. and Philip Morris USA, Inc.

According to Preston and Salango, the legal agency representing the plaintiffs, these corporations are targeting teenagers and pre-teens with their nicotine-based products.

“This has taken our country by storm,” said Dan Snuffer of Preston & Salango, “We as a country need to take control and protect our children and part of what we are trying to do in this litigation is to do just that.”

Malik Ilyas is the owner of Vape Shop in Martinsburg, and he argues that this lawsuit only benefits cigarette companies as there are already regulations that deny the sale of vapes to minors.

“We need to compare, what is vaping versus what is the smoking,” said Ilyas. “And what’s the consequences of smoking and vaping.”

Ilyas says that the majority of his customers use vapes as a way to quit tobacco and cigarettes.

“A few minutes ago a guy was here and he said, ‘I’m on three now.'”

Meaning three percent nicotine.

“He started with 12, then 9, 6, 3. Now he’s going to go zero. So he’ll be out of cigarette.”

However, Snuffer says that vape companies are no different than cigarette companies.

“What they did is they took the playbook of these big tobacco companies and all the research the big tobacco companies did for decades,” said Snuffer, “And used it to target the youth market.”

According to ConsumerSafety.org, lawsuits against e-cigarette companies center around one of the following claims:

  • High concentrations of nicotine in e-liquid cartridges can cause nicotine toxicity, leading to seizures or convulsions.
  • Nicotine salts used in JUULpods are highly addictive, making it hard for people to quit vaping.
  • E-cigarette devices contain a manufacturing defect that causes injury to the user or others, such as a battery that overheats or explodes.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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