Sarasota family files lawsuit against JUUL
SARASOTA- A 15-year-old Sarasota County girl and her family are taking on big tobacco in a class action suit against JUUL e-cigarettes. Sarasota Parents Erin and Jared NesSmith and their 15-year-old daughter are suing JUUL Labs for allegedly targeting teens and denying to do so.
“The principal point of all of this is it’s an adolescent addiction device,” Scott Schlesinger said. “They’ve intentionally created a drug delivery system to hook kids to a drug and there is just nothing good for public health about that.”
The family’s Fort-Lauderdale based lawyer Scott Schlesinger says the NesSmith’s daughter has experiences seizures from the nicotine in the e-cigarettes.
“If you have a pre-disposition to seizures it can trigger them,” Schlesinger said. “It can aggravate a seizure condition, it can activate a latent seizure condition, in our client it appears to have done that as well.”
A statement from a JUUL Labs spokesperson says the product is meant to be an alternative for current smokers, and they don’t want not cigarette users especially youth to even try the product.
Schlesinger argues against that in a suit filed aginst both JUUL and parent company Altria Group Inc., owner of Phillip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.
“Teens were the ones that were the target of JUUL,” Schlesinger said. “When they rolled out their powerful and youth-oriented social media campaign of good looking young people that look like i-phone commercials.”
Schlesinger says the sleek devices that looked like USB drives were easy for kids to hide from parents and teachers helping addict easily susceptible kids.
“Smells like fruit,” Schlesinger said. “Smells like candy, the industry has an internal secret document saying it’s a well- known fact that teenagers like sweet things, honey might be considered.”
Schlesinger says they’ve been contacted by more families interested in joining the suit. Schlesinger says the pending litigation could last for years.