Via America’s Lawyer: Juul has been in the hot seat since 2019, after the company was found to be aggressively marketing its products to children. Meanwhile, the FDA has yet to crack down on their e-cigarettes despite users reporting seizures, lung disease, and strokes. Attorney Madeline Pendley joins Mike Papantonio to how regulators continue to turn a blind eye when it comes to Juul.

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

Mike Papantonio:             Juul has been in the hot seat since 2019 after the company was found to be aggressively marketing its product to children. Meanwhile, the FDA has yet to crack down on their e-cigarettes despite users reporting seizures, lung disease, and strokes. I have Madeley, Madeline Pendley with me to talk about this. Wow, seizures, strokes, the FDA completely sitting on the sidelines, not doing what they’re supposed to do. Did I get that right?

Madeline Pendley:        You did. So this is just the latest issue we’re having with Juul. As you mentioned, we’ve been dealing with this litigation for years, their problems with marketing to children, which we’ll get into. Now we’ve got seizures. And so essentially the seizures are being caused by nicotine toxicity, which just means you’re being exposed to more nicotine than your body can handle and it causes other things like respiratory failure as well.

Mike Papantonio:             Hmm. Okay. So the FDA responded to these seizures how? They’re, I mean, there’s no question they’re getting these reports. People are dying of seizures.

Madeline Pendley:        Right.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re dying of a list of things. And the FDA says, well, we’re going to do it someday. That has been going about five years.

Madeline Pendley:        Yeah. And so they did what they’ve, what they typically do is this non-committal answer of, well, we can’t prove e-cigarettes are causing these seizures. But recently they did acknowledge that due to the volume and uptick in reporting of these seizures, that there’s probably a correlation there that does need to be investigated. When, I don’t know, but at least they said it. And they also mentioned that there’s likely more cases out there than we’re currently aware of because of the issue with self-reporting, which is all the information the FDA has right now.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Who are these people at the FDA? I mean, who literally, who the hell are they?

Madeline Pendley:        They’re people that used to work at corporations

Mike Papantonio:             Exactly.

Madeline Pendley:        So they don’t care.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So this isn’t Juul’s only problem. They’ve been hit for going out and specifically trying to market to, to children’s with goofy grape cigarettes, olly olly orange, Susie strawberry. It’s like candy. And that’s been going on for five years. It has been reported for about five years and the FDA has done nothing for five years until finally they get hit. Right?

Madeline Pendley:        Right. And actually earlier this year, Juul settled with the attorney general of North Carolina for $40 million to resolve those exact allegations that you mentioned. And so the way they’ve been marketing to children is they use, you know, young people in their ads. So people who at least appear to be teenagers, they made their device look like a USB or a flash drive that kids take to and from school anyway. So it’s very discreet, it blends in, and then the flavors. So they’re using candy and fruit stuff that obviously appeals to children more so than adults so they can market their product.

Mike Papantonio:             I had Juul children’s camp. Did you know this?

Madeline Pendley:        Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             Where kids went to Juul children’s camp and they were introduced. Now the, what they said was, well, we’re only doing the camp so we can talk to them about the dangers of smoking. But oh, by the way, we’ve got olly olly orange here, we’ve got goofy grape. You might really like these things.

Madeline Pendley:        Right.

Mike Papantonio:             What does it take for the FDA to say enough is enough? I know I’m working for the FDA, and I know I want to go to work for corporate America, but at some time, at some point, doesn’t your decency meter kick in? Doesn’t your shame meter kick in?

Madeline Pendley:        You would hope so. And the FDA has already acknowledged that there’s been an 80% increase in high school vaping, a 50% increase in middle school vaping, you know, people younger than 13, all in the last few years, all since Juul has been on the market. And so Juul did pull their fruit flavors, you know, as a result of all of this. But they’re still hoping to get permission to continue selling their menthol and tobacco flavors because they think it’s safer than smoking.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Full, full disclosure, we’re the ones that brought the case against the tobacco industry. We started that case right here. We have all the documents, you know, I know the documents really well. The documents show that the Juul company is using exactly the same marketing scheme that all the tobacco companies used. This isn’t new. It’s not new to the FDA. The truth is the FDA simply won’t do their job because they want a job with corporate America. They’re owned by corporate America.

Madeline Pendley:        Exactly.

Mike Papantonio:             Thank you for joining me. Okay.

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.