A teenager who claimed vaping left him with lungs ‘like a 70-year-old’ is now suing a leading e-cigarette company.
Adam Hergenreder, an 18-year-old student athlete from Gurnee, Illinois, was hospitalised after using e-cigarettes for 18 months.
He claimed doctors told him he now has lungs similar to those of a 70-year-old after he underwent treatment at the end of August for nausea and laboured breathing.
The 18-year-old has accused Juul of marketing their products to young people with the message that vaping could boost their social status, The Independent reports.
The lawsuit claims the electronic cigarette company used advertisements and social media campaigns to encourage young people to vape, but never fully disclosed that their products contained dangerous chemicals.
The legal case also names a gas station as a defendant, accusing it of regularly selling Hergenreder nicotine-based Juul products when he was under the legal purchase age of 18.
Antonio Romanucci, Mr Hergenreder’s lawyer, said:
To put it mildly, Adam didn’t stand a chance to avoid getting hooked on these toxic time-bombs.
In a statement released on Friday (September 13), Juul said it had ‘never marketed to youth’ and argued its products were aimed towards adults who were trying to quit smoking.
Hergenreder said he first started vaping ‘because everyone else was doing it’ and claimed he was unaware of any health risks from carrying out the practice. As well as purchasing over-the-counter e-liquids, the teenager also vaped THC – the main psychoactive component in cannabis – which he got from a drug dealer.
When asked by CBS News if he thought buying THC off the street was ‘kind of dumb’, the 18-year-old admitted that it was, before adding: ‘When you’re addicted like that, I don’t think that goes through your mind.’
So far, there have been 380 cases of lung illness reported from 36 states and one US territory, and six deaths have been reported from six states. All reported cases have a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC, while many have reported using THC and nicotine.
Their investigation is ongoing, with the health protection agency saying they don’t yet know the specific cause of these illnesses and the investigation has not identified any specific e-cigarette or vaping product that is linked to all cases.
After the number of cases doubled in the space of just one week, officials at the CDC have also urged people to stop vaping.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).