Via America’s LawyerMike Papantonio and Trial Lawyer Magazine editor Farron Cousins discuss the fast-growing health concerns about Juul and other vaping devices, which have exploded in popularity among teens who are now addicted to the purported cigarette-substitutes.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Recently, the CEO of Juul e-cigarettes issued a halfhearted apology to parents whose teens became addicted to nicotine thanks to his company’s products. But the truth is that just like tobacco, this was all part of the plan. Joining me to talk about this is Farron Cousins who just finished an incredible cover story for the national trial lawyer magazine. You’ve been following this a long time. Farron, first thing that comes to my mind, you know, as you know, we, our law firm handled the tobacco litigation. We wrote the first legislation about it that was used all over the country. So we know these cats pretty bad, pretty well, you know, it’s a bad bunch of cats I guess. Give me your take on these people that are showing up with illnesses and couple of deaths already.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, just in the last week or so, we have seen I think a 193 different people across 22 different states. One of them in Illinois, a man is dead now and it’s because of some kind of mysterious vaping related, they believe, disease. But the reason we start by saying that is because now we got to go back and talk about what’s going on with vaping? And on the federal level from the federal government, the answer is really not much at all. There are few regulations, if any, on what can be in these vaping liquids. What goes in there, what people are consuming, how much nicotine it can have, and now after we’ve been warning for years about the lack of regulations, now we’re starting to see the consequences and they have piled up in the last year.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay, yeah, let me back up. We started doing this story three or four years ago. As soon as it came on the market, we said, look, here are the problems, and then the problem is you have this cult. I don’t know how to, it’s like this cult.

Farron Cousins:                  It really is.

Mike Papantonio:             I call it, I call it, it’s just so weird. We do a story. We say, look, look, God bless you if you want to vape, I don’t care. But you need to know what the problems are. And the problems are, it’s not just the nicotine, it’s all the other chemicals that are in, that are included in that liquid that you’re vaping.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s the fact that you have no, your body has no magnitude response. In other words, if you’re smoking a cigarette, you’re, you know, you smoke too much, you get respiratory issues. You kinda, you, you, you’d get the light-headedness coming on. Not with vaping because it’s coming in your system so bad. So here’s the point, you know, I know doing this story, all the, you know, all the, all these people are going to come out, how dare you talk about vaping, vaping, because it is a cult. I swear it, it is a cult and that’s, that’s the way they’ve built this, isn’t it? They built it with kids primarily.

Farron Cousins:                  It is, it’s become its own little subculture here in the United States. They have vaping competitions. They have conventions and of course these conventions are sponsored by the vaping companies. You have people out there who swear that vaping has saved their, because it got them off regular cigarettes, but at the same time they’re saying, well, we’ll you guys attacking vapes, you’re, you’re doing Big Tobacco’s job. But the truth is, a lot of these Big Tobacco companies, including Juul, they’ve bought shares of these companies. No, you, you vapors, you’re doing Big Tobacco’s job because they own these products as well.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, Big Tobacco owns them. I mean, really, when you get to the point where you can’t objective really listened to a story, Big Tobacco owns you. We, we saw, look it’s it, it crosses generation. Happened to the baby boomers when we first started the tobacco litigation, we were the villain because we uncovered all these documents that showed that they had hired doctors to tell the lie. They created literature that told the lie. They phonied up, they phonied up epidemiology to tell the lie. Same things happen here.

So that was baby boomer generation. Okay. Now you’ve got young baby boomers and millennials that are part of the cult and nothing’s different. You know, they want to say we’re different than mom and dad. We’re clear thinkers. We’re, we, we certainly can see it. All you gotta do is look at the science here. Okay. You look at the chemicals that are included in there. How about this? What about the fact that in different parts of the country you have independent vaping companies that mix their own chemicals? Talk about that.

Farron Cousins:                  Right, see, and that’s a big part of the problem and this could be what’s linked to all these vaping illnesses we see. And before you and I talked here, I spent a good amount of time today going through the FDA’s regulation website for tobacco and e-liquid and e-cigarettes and vapes and all that. There was not a single thing I could find going through their website on regulations about any form of federal regulation on what can or cannot go into these vaping liquids. So, these people who are out there independently mixing these, you know, you walk into one of those vape shops that pops up on the corner every five months these days, they’re mixing them in house.

So you’re putting your life, your lungs, in the hand of some random person behind the counter who says, oh, let me give you, this will taste good. But there’s heavy metals. There is diacetyl. We know that there are cancer causing compounds as well, and whatever else this person you don’t know is sticking into that liquid that you then heat to 400 or 500 degrees in a matter of, you know, milliseconds and put it into your lungs and people are out there swearing, yelling at us, telling us that this is the safest thing in the world.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, what, what it is, it is, it’s, it’s, it’s self actualization. They, they want to believe it, therefore they won’t, it’s like a, it’s like talking to a Republican about a bad policy. No, I’m a Republican. It’s tribal, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  It is.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, it’s, it’s almost cult like. You see with the Democrats, you see it with Republicans, we’re in that right now. I see the same thing happening here. Look, here, here’s the point. Got about 30 seconds left. They’ve got ollie ollie orange. They’ve got bubblegum, they’ve gotten, they’ve got all these kids’ tastes trying to go after the kids. They’ve even market them where they put them on the shelf to go after children. The type of marketing they do is colors. It’s all going after children. But really it’s not just the kids that go so crazy when we talk about this case.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             It is, it is adults who should have enough sense to be able to think for themselves rather than having the industry think for them. And apparently that’s, that’s what happens here.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you know, and the bottom line is this, if this is what you’re choosing to do, fantastic. You do that, that is your choice. You have the right to do that. But don’t try to convince yourself or convince other people that we know these things are safe. All the science that has been coming out in the short decade these things have been available, has not been flattering for vapes.

Mike Papantonio:             This story, I tell you, but we’re going to see it with this story. We, how dare we talk about the fact that this stuff’s dangerous.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and eventually the documents will come too, and it will show everything we’re saying.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. We’ll be in trial with the documents.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.