Justin Lovely: Hello everyone. I’m attorney Justin Lovely. Welcome to our video cast and podcast here, the Carolina Justice Report, sponsored by South Carolina Law TV and brought to you by, of course, The Lovely Law Firm. I’m here again with my wife and law partner, Amy Lawrence.
Amy Lawrence: Hey, hey, hey, hey.
Justin Lovely: We’re here to talk to you about a topic today that’s very important to the community at large, the teachers that are in your community, especially down here in the beach area, and every parent. They really need to pay attention to this week’s video cast. We’re going to be talking about, I’m sure everybody’s heard this in the news, JUUL e-cigs. They’re very dangerous. I’m going to give you a brief overview of some of the statistics that we have uncovered through some of the litigation that we’re starting to get involved in. I just got back from Las Vegas from the mass torts summit, and I got some stunning updates. It’s just going to blow your mind. It’s really some sad stuff, but …
Justin Lovely: Amy, kind of take it from there. We’ll start a conversation, and if you have any comments, please let us know, and we’ll try to walk you through it, if this is something that’s affecting you and your family.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah. When you said blow your mind, I was thinking blow your mind and break your heart all at once. It really does. It really does. So the first thing, I remember when you first started talking about this, and this was months ago, maybe six months ago to a year? You kept talking about JUUL, and I was like, “What in the world is JUUL?” And a lot of people don’t know. If you’re not a smoker or you’ve got little tiny kids, you’re not thinking like this. But a lot of people just don’t even know what a JUUL is. So what is a JUUL?
Justin Lovely: So the idea behind JUUL, it’s an e-cigarette delivery device, and it’s meant, or what we thought it was meant to do was to keep people from smoking cigarettes. There’s a vape cartridge that goes into a battery device that heats up the coil, and essentially, you are led to believe that you’re inhaling vapor instead of cigarette smoke.
Justin Lovely: So JUUL is a company that’s kind of taken the market by storm. Today, they have about 70% of the e-cig market in America, and I believe even worldwide.
Amy Lawrence: I mean you see them everywhere.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, they’re everywhere. So … But there’s some downsides to this that starting to rear its ugly head. It’s following the similar path that big tobacco followed. It’s a recipe for disaster. It’s history repeating itself. And as more and more information comes to light, we’re trying to see the same players in the game, the same tactics that was used by big tobacco several years ago that our grandparents got hooked on. It’s a whole nother generation that’s getting involved with these.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, so I mean how dangerous can this thing be? I mean we’re seeing, and we’ve seen a couple of things in the news about how it’s catching fire in people’s pockets or it’s catching fire or blowing up in somebody’s face, but there’s way more to it than all that.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, that’s a totally separate issue. Of course, we’re intaking, investigating those cases too with these batteries that are exploding on these vape devices, but totally separate, that’s a totally separate issue. The vape, the JUUL devices are-
Amy Lawrence: It’s certainly more than that, yeah.
Justin Lovely: The vape devices are very dangerous because basically, your kids are inhaling chemicals. It’s not a vapor. It’s not like it’s water vapor. It’s nicotine. It’s not about vaping. It’s about addiction to nicotine. And some of these statistics that was uncovered through these studies that we heard out in Vegas were just astonishing. I’m going to have to look down so I don’t say it wrong. But basically, one JUUL pod, one JUUL pod is the equivalent of 200 puffs on a cigarette, okay?
Amy Lawrence: Lord.
Justin Lovely: It’s crazy. So these kids, when they’re JUULing, it’s like they’re instantly becoming chain smokers. Another study is these kids, they don’t even realize, it’s like 63% of the kids that were interviewed in this study did not even realize that nicotine, they didn’t know what nicotine was or nicotine’s in a JUUL. What is that?
Justin Lovely: And basically, the issue is that they’re, JUUL as a company just made this very appealing to kids, so they marketed towards kids. They made the imagery, the use of social media, the names of the flavors, the types of flavors, everything was geared towards young kids to basically get a whole nother generation, again, not about vaping, it’s about getting them hooked on the nicotine to eventually, and what the plaintiff’s lawyers theory is, to get them hooked, a whole new other generation on tobacco, later in life to sell them cigarettes.
Amy Lawrence: Right.
Justin Lovely: So it’s causing all kinds of problems. We’re also seeing issues with the prefrontal cortex development, which is basically the right and wrong development of the brain, the pleasure-seeking behavior. Those, it’s going straight with their brain with this nicotine addiction, and it’s messing these kids up. They’re having behavior problems. All kinds of issues. Of course-
Amy Lawrence: Go ahead, babe.
Justin Lovely: Go ahead.
Amy Lawrence: I didn’t even realize that this was a problem until you started talking about it. And then when we talked to one of our local [inaudible] that’s a friend of ours. It blew my mind. It blew your mind. I mean there, an elementary school principal is telling us about how it’s affecting, I mean they’re having kids getting caught every day. Third, fourth, fifth graders. I mean that just kind of blows my mind, and I think it would blow everybody else’s mind. So as mom and dads, we’re the mom and dad [inaudible] turned nine, nine and seven, a third grader and a first grader, but we’re already starting to talk to our kids about this stuff because it’s so prevalent in the elementary schools, and you would never even know it.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, so it’s huge in high schools. It’s huge in middle schools. And it is even seeping down into the fourth and fifth graders in the elementary schools. Now, the school systems have a whole nother big problem. They’re having to hire extra, basically administrative personnel to enforce the smoking in the bathroom. They’re taking the doors off the bathroom. Teachers can’t teach because they’re having to handle all these administrative problems. It’s putting a real, real strain on these school systems. Grades are down. They’re having behavior issues. There’s so many kids doing it. It’s just, it’s crazy.
Amy Lawrence: I was in juvenile court the other day, just popping in to talk to a prosecutor. And when I was in there, I bet out of the 50 or 60 kids that were in there, there was 30 of them in there for some kind of JUUL related, e-cig related offense at their school, which again, just blew my mind.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, and again, this device is marketed with catchy names like Olly Olly Orange, Goofy Grape. And these kids, they think it’s cool, right? They see the other people doing tricks, vape tricks and everything, and they don’t even … It doesn’t burn like a cigarette. It’s very discreet. They can do it in class. The device itself is made like a USB drive so it’s hard for the teachers to even see them doing it. It’s-
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s like tiny, right.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, sometimes, it’s odorless. You can’t even see it happening. It’s just, they made it so easy for a kid to get hooked on it. It’s really becoming an epidemic. How we’re going to get control over it, I don’t know. There’s a lawsuit starting to pick up.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, how’s that working out? What is up with the law side?
Justin Lovely: Well, the law side of it, there’s really, there’s two avenues. One’s going to follow the same track as the opioid litigation whereas we have these governmental clients who, because these school systems, school districts, schools, they’re having to expend all this extra money and resources to control the behavior issues instead of teach. So that’s going to be one avenue. There are some cases filed already pursuing that.
Justin Lovely: Now there’s individual cases and some class action work that’s going around the country. Individual cases, of course, if we have addiction disorders where … I mean these families are having to get loans and put their kids through rehab essentially for nicotine addiction because of the behavior issues.
Amy Lawrence: We’ve got a couple of those calls. I know. It’s crazy.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, it’s crazy. So-
Justin Lovely: … I mean we’re going to have that avenue. And unfortunately, lower-income people can’t afford that. So who’s passing the buck? It’s going to be the state, the counties. And so those kind of cases will follow the same opioid track. And then you’ll have individual cases. We haven’t even gotten to the damages. I mean we’re talking, these kids are inhaling these chemicals. It’s chemicals, it’s heavy metals. We don’t even know what the injuries will be. ER physicians, they don’t even know when they seen them come in, they don’t even know what it is. A lot of these kids are being diagnosed with pneumonia. And what’s really happening is they have popcorn lung. They have emphysema. We’re seeing COPV in little kids and teenagers where they’ve been vaping. It’s really scary stuff because I mean they’re inhaling, not only the nicotine, but I mean nickel, formaldehyde, I mean heavy metals and bad chemicals. It’s bad stuff. It’s causing seizures, vomiting, convulsions. And I mean these parents are just like, “What the hell’s happened to my kid?” They don’t even know what’s going on. A lot of times, the parents don’t even know. So it’s real scary.
Justin Lovely: And those are the kinds of cases, of course, in our office, we’re looking at the governmental clients, but we’re also looking into individual with any kind of addiction where the parents have had to put out money for rehab or, of course, the lung injury cases will be the ones that are the typical case, at this time. Again, it’s growing. The science is coming in every day because people don’t even know it and the doctors don’t even know it. That’s the crazy part.
Amy Lawrence: Well, there’s hundreds of chemicals and stuff going on in that little tiny little vape. You know what I mean? We don’t even know what kind of injuries, the long-term effect because this is such a new product. I mean this could continue to go on for years, decades.
Justin Lovely: Right, right. Right. But I mean we’re starting to see, I mean today in the news, I think Altria, Philip Morris, they pulled out, they tried to dump their whole stock, their whole position. You’re seeing legislation starting to try to be passed to just to prohibit and ban all vaping products in the whole state here in South Carolina. You’re seeing retailers are starting to wise up and pull it off their shelves. They’re starting to … The tide is starting to turn, but a lot of this damage is already done. Of course, we’re investigating those cases.
Amy Lawrence: Right. So when should a potential client, a mom, a dad, an individual, when should they reach out to us, to a lawyer, to see if we can help them?
Justin Lovely: Yeah, I mean if this has happened to you and your family, call us, and we can kind of walk you through it and go into it. This is just a brief overview. I’ve got a lot more deep dive into the facts and everything, and we can sift it so that we could help you with.
Justin Lovely: I think it’s going to be a long process here before anybody saw any sort of recovery because of course, they’re going to blame it on, hey there, we didn’t market this to kids. It was your kid’s choice or things like that. Or they’ll try to say they were a smoker before. There’s always going to be those kind of defenses.
Justin Lovely: But definitely, if the lung injuries are there with these popcorn lung cases or pneumonia or anything like that, we definitely want to investigate that on your behalf. And of course, we would pull the records and make sure they get to see a pulmonologist and get the treatment that they need first. If a potential clients needs help trying to find an addiction specialist, we can try to match you up to definitely get you help, and then we’ll hopefully be able to pursue some kind of recovery on the back end.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Well, I guess that kind of wraps up our mini JUUL rundown. If you have any questions or you want to reach out to us, please give us a call at The Lovely Law Firm. 843-839-4111.