Juul Is Officially Not Cool

All PR is good PR, unless you’re Juul right now. With appearances across international news broadcasts, popular YouTubers’ channels and even on TikTok (the newest social media platform loved by teens), the perils of Juul have become widespread knowledge, exposing the company’s unethical development practices and marketing tactics. 

A recent Reuters investigation concluded that the company has been entrenched in controversial developments from its early stages. A former employee has disclosed that discussions around the product’s potency and addictiveness were debated initially, however any employee concerns about product safety took a backseat to the company’s exponential growth. What’s become clear is the true effects of Juul are surfacing through numerous studies investigating the potency and addictiveness of the product, particularly amongst teenage users. 

Juul Delivers More Nicotine than Most Cigarettes

In a new study out of Penn State University College of Medicine, researchers analyzed blood samples from six Juul users who were asked to puff on their device every 20 seconds for 10 minutes (a total of 30 puffs). “The Juul users we studied obtained blood nicotine concentrations almost three times as high as most of the e-cigarette users we previously studied,” said Jessica Yingst, a research project manager. 

When the research participants were also asked to rate their withdrawal symptoms and other effects like ni

cotine craving and anxiety before and after vaping, they reported higher levels of nicotine dependence than more than 3,000 long-term users of other e-cigarettes. “In previous studies, we found that e-cigarette users were less addicted than smokers. However, the high nicotine delivery of the product and the scores on this study suggest that Juul is probably as addictive as 

cigarettes,” said study co-author Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences.

Following this, according to interviews with over a dozen tobacco researchers, pediatricians and Reuters review of Juul patents and nicotine chemistry, “the breakthrough “nicotine salts” formula that made the Juul e-cigarette so addictive – and ignited the company’s explosive market-share growth – made Juul especially attractive to teenagers and other new users who otherwise would never have smoked cigarettes. 

Teens Seduced by Smooth Flavors and ‘Smoke Rings’

CDC research reveals two thirds of teens weren’t even aware Juul contained nicotine 

With the latest figures showing that two thirds of Juul users aged 15-24 didn’t always know that Juul contained nicotine, it’s no wonder why there’s concern around youth addiction and vaping-related illnesses, especially as young users continue to post photos or videos of themselves performing smoke stunts or smoking multiple Juul’s on social media, often tagged under the hashtags such as #juullife or #doit4juul. 

In the latest available data from the CDC in September 2019, it shows that more than one in four high schoolers – 27.5% – reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, a figure that’s consistently kept climbing month after month, despite the growing public concern about the product. 

In an effort to try and curb youth addiction and usage, Juul recently stopped selling its best-selling Mint flavored pods at the beginning of November. The company’s surprise announcement came just weeks after it pulled the popular Mango, Creme, Fruit and Cucumber flavors from the shelves in October. 

Juul now only sells its Menthol, Classic Tobacco and Virginia Tobacco varieties, but there’s still cause for concern that teens will shift from Mint to Menthol. Studies published in the medical journal JAMA found that nearly 60% of high school students who vape use Juul, and mint was the most popular flavor among US 10th and 12th graders.

The Repercussions of a Youth Epidemic 

Vaping death toll hits 42, with 2,100+ cases reported nationwide 

Sadly, with the latest figures from the CDC revealing that 42 deaths and 2,172 vaping-related injury cases have been reported in addition to figures of American youths  addicted to nicotine reportedly reaching more than 5 million, it is clear this is an epidemic that is not going away any time soon.

If you or a loved one has been affected by Juul addiction or injury, we’re here for you. 

We are currently investigating cases where an individual has used JUUL for at least three months and developed:

Lung Injuries 

Heart Injuries 

Addiction

Alternative Injuries

Or has had a stroke or seizure

Do I Have a Case?  

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a severe lung disease such as Bronchioloitis Obliterans or pneumonia, suffered a heart attack, seizure, or stroke, or developed a nicotine addiction after the use of a JUUL e-cigarette product, please reach out to the Minnesota e-cigarette lawyers at GoldenbergLaw.  We will guide you through the legal process and fight to get you fair compensation. GoldenbergLaw delivers the gold standard advocacy you deserve.

 

Litigation Update: Time to Round Up Roundup?

The link between the popular weed killer Roundup and cancer became public in 2015 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the agency devoted to cancer research within the World Health Organization—released a report exposing the connection between Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate and cancer.

Since the IARC released this report, thousands of Roundup users have tied their diagnoses of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to Roundup exposure and taken legal action.

What Is Happening With The Roundup Litigation?

As of November 2019, analysts project that there are more than 45,000 Roundup plaintiffs in the United States. That number stands in sharp contrast to Bayer AG’S July 2019 estimate of 18,400.

Bayer AG has lost all three Roundup lawsuits it has taken to trial, with each jury finding that the plaintiffs’ exposure to glyphosate caused their diagnoses of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Several additional trials that were scheduled for fall 2019 have been postponed to early 2020.

What Have The Roundup Trials Revealed?

In addition to juries finding that glyphosate can cause cancer, the Roundup trials have revealed questionable business practices by Monsanto—the original manufacturer of Roundup. Monsanto glyphosate-structure-chalkboardwas purchased by Bayer AG in 2018.

Documents produced at the trials have exposed that Monsanto engaged in “ghostwriting” research about glyphosate.  In other words, the company paid prominent scientists, researchers, and journalists to put their names on favorable research about glyphosate that was actually produced by Monsanto employees. Additionally, Monsanto allegedly lobbied for help from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hide a negative study of glyphosate that was released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Bayer AG’s Legal Response

Bayer AG inherited massive litigation expenses with their acquisition of Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018. Since then, the Roundup crisis has already cost Bayer AG more than $30 billion in market value. Analysts have estimated that settling all of the U.S. Roundup lawsuits could cost anywhere between $2.5 billion to $20 billion. The company announced in July 2019 that it had begun mediation talks with Ken Feinburg to attempt to reach a settlement.

What Is Bayer Saying About Roundup Now?

Bayer AG continues to assert that Roundup is safe and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. Therefore, the company has never considered pulling Roundup off the market despite the mounting allegations, research, and trial verdicts questioning its safety for consumers.

Bayer AG has been steadfast in refusing to add a warning label to Roundup products, issue a recall, or any outright discontinuance of the products containing glyphosate. However, that strategy comes with legal consequences. As long as the product continues to be sold without a warning label, the company is exposed to lawsuits linking ongoing Roundup use to future cancer diagnoses.

Despite refusing to remove Roundup from the market or add a warning label, Bayer AG announced in June 2019 that it was researching a glyphosate alternative at a cost of $5.6 billion.

What Are The Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?  

Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – the illness allegedly caused by use of Roundup exposure – include:

  • Painless, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin;
  • Abdominal pain or swelling;
  • Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing;
  • Persistent fatigue;
  • Fever;
  • Night sweats;
  • Unexplained weight loss 

What Should I Do Now?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after Roundup use and/or exposure, please reach out to GoldenbergLaw’s Minnesota Roundup Cancer Attorneys. We will guide you through the legal process and fight to get you the compensation needed to help get your life back on track. Let us deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.

Oklahoma Judge Issues $572 Million Verdict in First Opioid Trial

On August 26, 2019 Oklahoma District Court Judge Thad Blakman held healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson responsible for its role in the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma by delivering a $572 million verdict in favor the state. The judge cited the aggressive marketing strategies employed by Johnson & Johnson to increase opioid sales that involved minimizing the risks of addiction and dependence, a sales strategy also known as the “addiction ditch.”

What Happened in Oklahoma?

In the first opioid epidemic case to reach trial, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter claimed that opioid overdoses killed more than 4,600 people in the state from 2007 through 2017 with thousands more currently battling opioid addiction. The state estimates that it will cost $17.5 billion over 30 years to handle the crisis through opioid use disorder screenings, prevention and treatment, recovery services, medical education, and pain management programs.

What Did Johnson & Johnson Do?

The judge found that Johnson & Johnson engaged in deceptive marketing campaigns aimed at convincing Oklahoma doctors and the public that opioids are safe and effective for long-term use and treatment of chronic pain.

In addition, Johnson & Johnson sales representatives persuaded doctors that patients’ pain symptoms were under-treated and that patients were being harmed as a result. A technique known as “pseudoaddiction” was used to convince doctors that if patients were requesting higher doses they were not necessarily addicted to the opioid, but rather they needed the higher dose to treat their pain.

In trial, the co-director for the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, testified that Johnson & Johnson and their proxies downplayed the risks of opioid

opioid-pill

use, exaggerated the benefits, and saturated the market with opioids. For instance, Johnson & Johnson minimized the fact that when patients take opioids every day for as few as five days,

physiological dependence begins to set in and it becomes extremely difficult to discontinue opioid use. As a result, there are now more than 2 million opioid-addicted Americans who need treatment.

What are Prescription Opioids and Why are they Dangerous?

Prescription opioids are used for moderate to severe pain relief. To achieve relief, opioid receptors attach to brain cells and release signals to block pain receptors and boost feelings of pleasure. Opioids are intended to be used for a limited time to treat pain that does not respond to standard painkillers such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Paracetamol.

However, opioids are extremely addictive and can be dangerous if abused. The feelings of pleasure resulting from opioids can be addictive. As a result, the patient develops a psychological dependence on the opioids in order to achieve the feelings of pleasure. Additionally, if opioids are consumed at too high of doses, breathing and heart beat are slowed which may lead to death.

A study on opioids conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed the severity of the drugs’ addictiveness. In a sample of opioid naïve, cancer-free adults who received opioid prescriptions, the likelihood of chronic opioid use increased with each additional day of treatment staring with day 3 and the most drastic increase in chronic opioid use occurred after the 5th and 31st day of treatment.

What is the Opioid Epidemic?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that almost 400,000 overdose deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2017 were tied to opioids.

Startling research from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006 revealed a stark increase in opioid overdose deaths paralleling a similar increase in opioid prescriptions. Before the opioid epidemic, unintentional drug poisoning mortality rates increased on average 5.3% per year. However, at the beginning of the opioid epidemic (1990-2002), unintentional drug poisoning mortality rates increased by 18.1% per year.

Between 1999 and 2002, the number of opioid-related poisonings listed on death certificates increased by 91.2%. By 2002, opioid-related poisoning was involved in 5,528 more deaths than other addictive drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

What is Happening with Other Opioid Manufacturing Companies?

When Oklahoma initially sued to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing the state, Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals were named as defendants in addition to Johnson & Johnson. However, Purdue Pharma and Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals settled with the state prior to trial. Purdue Pharma, the maker of the blockbuster drug OxyContin, agreed to pay $270 million. Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of the world’s leading providers of generic drugs, agreed to pay $85 million.

Since Purdue Pharma did not go to trial, their marketing strategies for OxyContin were not revealed in court; however, the American Public Health Association published an analysis of their manipulative marketing tactics.

Purdue Pharma introduced the opioid OxyContin to the market in 1996 through aggressive marketing and promotion. The high availability of OxyContin correlated with increased abuse, diversion, and addiction. As a result, by 2004 OxyContin became a leading drug of abuse in the United States.

Aggressive and deceptive marketing strategies included creating individual profiles of physicians based on their prescribing patterns and creating a national database to identify the highest and lowest prescribers of particular drugs in a single zip code, county, state, or the country as a whole. After the profiles were compiled, Purdue Pharma targeted physicians who were already the highest prescribers for opioids in the country due to their large numbers of chronic-pain patients.

Purdue Pharma also introduced a lucrative bonus system which incentivized representatives to increase OxyContin sales in their region. The representatives also created a patient coupon program for OxyContin which provided patients with a free, limited-time prescription for 7 to 30 days.

These manipulative marketing tactics disguised the risk of addiction associated with opioids for the treatment of chronic pain. As a result, sales representatives were told to relay the message that the risk of addiction was “less than one percent.”  However, the studies providing these claims proved to be defunct and resulted in Purdue Frederick Company Inc. (an affiliate of Purdue Pharma) pleading guilty to criminal misbranding charges in 2007.

Dangerous Drugs and Deceptive Marketing

The $572 million verdict in Oklahoma against Johnson & Johnson is only the beginning of justice in the opioid epidemic plaguing the country. Companies who fueled the opioid epidemic by predatory marketing techniques increased the presence and availability of dangerous and addictive products. However, cities, states, and municipalities across the United States are fighting to hold those companies responsible for the devastation and predation.