Lake County teen hospitalized for severe lung damage sues Juul, retailer over vaping products

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- A Lake County teen who was recently hospitalized for severe lung damage linked to vaping is suing major e-cigarette company Juul and a north suburban retailer.

Chicago-based law firm Romanucci & Blandin announced the lawsuit over the marketing and sale of vaping products on Friday. It's filed on behalf of 18-year-old Gurnee resident Adam Hergenreder, who began vaping over a year ago.

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The lawsuit alleges Juul Labs, Inc. used deceptive marketing tactics to target teen consumers.

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," Hergenreder's attorneys said.

A spokesperson for Juul Labs responded to the lawsuit in a statement Friday, saying that the company officials have "never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products."

"We have launched an aggressive action plan to combat underage use as it is antithetical to our mission," the spokesperson said.

The action plan can be found on Juul's website here.

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The lawsuit also accuses a suburban Waukegan gas station of illegally selling nicotine-based products to Hergenreder when he was a minor.

Hergenreder's attorneys said that he's among the 450 cases nationwide of serious lung illness under investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least six deaths have been reported in several states linked to vaping products.

The CDC said that many, but not all of the patients recently used products containing THC, the compound that gives marijuana its high. But some reported using both THC and nicotine.
The illnesses have all been reported this year, and the number has been growing quickly in the last month as more and more states have begun investigations. A week ago, U.S. officials pegged the number at 215 possible cases in 25 states.

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It's also unclear whether such illnesses were happening before this year.

"We're all wondering if this is new or just newly recognized," Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters last week.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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