A Gurnee teenager is suing the e-cigarette company Juul, claiming he was a victim of deceptive marketing and that he suffered “severe lung disease” as a result of using the product, according to a lawsuit filed on his behalf Friday.
The suit, filed in Lake County Circuit Court, is part of a growing nationwide backlash against e-cigarette manufacturers, whose products have, according to federal health officials, caused an epidemic of vaping among American teenagers.
Adam Hergenreder, 18, had been vaping for about 2 years when he ended up in the hospital in late August, according to the suit. He was originally diagnosed with stomach flu. When his symptoms worsened, a CT scan showed the lung issues, according to the lawsuit.
“Juul has turned a generation of adolescents into addicts and recklessly put the health and safety of young men and women like Adam in jeopardy, inflicting illnesses upon them that medical personnel and public health authorities have yet to understand the causes of or the long-term impacts of,” Hergenreder’s attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said in a statement.
“While the terrible damage done to Adam’s lungs and his overall health can’t be undone, Juul should be held responsible for deliberately targeting him and millions of other American teens with wildly irresponsible claims that its products are safe.”
Hergenreder bought vaping products at a gas station in Waukegan, which is also named as a defendant in the suit.
“Adam was attracted to the Juul’s various flavors, including, but not limited to, mint, mango and cucumber,” according to the suit.
President Donald Trump said this week the federal government will act to ban thousands of flavors used in vaping. Federal officials say preliminary data shows about one in four high school students reported vaping in 2019.
Juul and others have argued their products are intended to help adult smokers wean themselves off traditional paper-and-tobacco cigarettes.