And How This Can Affect You:
While Juul has recently been under fire for shady marketing techniques, including marketing to underage users, another serious issue has emerged for those using Juul products. The possibility of contaminated pods being shipped out to users was made public by former Juul Exec Siddharth Breja. At least 1,600 cases of lung damage cases have been reported in relation to vaping, including more than 30 deaths. It is currently unknown whether contaminated pods are related to this issue but it’s safe to say the use of vaping products isn’t as safe as originally thought.
Siddharth Breja, who was originally a finance executive at the e-cigarette company Juul, was fired earlier this year. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday by lawyers that represent Breja, they claim Breja was terminated after opposing company practices such as shipping contaminated flavored pods and not listing expiration dates on Juul products. The lawsuit does not specify the contamination issue, or go into further detail on how it occurred. Lawyers for Breja have declined to speak further on the issue.
A Juul spokesperson responded to the claims stating that they were “baseless” and that Breja was terminated because he failed to “demonstrate the leadership qualities required for the job.” No further statements have been issued since then.
Breja described a “reckless” and “win at all costs” mentality at Juul, and he aims the majority of the criticism at the company’s former CEO, Kevin Burns, who was recently replaced.
According to the lawsuit, Breja states that he learned in March that some batches of nicotine solution had been contaminated, and claims that roughly one million of these contaminated pods were shipped without a recall or public health warning. Breja says he protested shipping the pods, but his supervisor continued forward because they were more concerned with stockholders’ profits.
After pulling Mango, Fruit, and other flavors under the pressure of health authorities, Mint pods were the contaminated products according to Breja. A majority of vape users used Mint pods as a substitute for the fruity flavors that were pulled off-market. According to the lawsuit, Burns stated, “You need to have an IQ of 5 to know that when customers don’t find mango they buy mint.”
Breja claims that he was wrongfully terminated after bringing health concerns related to the contaminated pods to Burns. Breja states that Burns responded to his concerns with “half of our customers are drunk and vaping like mofos, who the f— is going to notice the quality of our pods?” The lawsuit was filed in Northern California seeking $10 million.
For safety concerns, users should consider halting any use of Juul vaping products and schedule a precautionary visit with a doctor. If users have any symptoms of EVALI, the name given to the vape related illness, they should immediately seek treatment. These symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pains.
Contact a North Carolina Injury Attorney
Working with an experienced North Carolina injury attorney can potentially make or break your case. If you have used vape products and believe you may be suffering illness from them, let’s talk. Our mission is to help those who’ve been harmed by defective products and ensure that businesses are held accountable for producing them. For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.