EUGENE — A University of Oregon student is suing two vaping companies, claiming the companies failed to make it clear he’d get addicted to nicotine and that he suffered seizures from using their products.

Kewmarse Imani filed a class action lawsuit against Juul Labs and Altria Group, the parent company for Philip Morris USA and a stakeholder in Juul Labs, seeking damages for himself and others that he claims are owed to him after injury and addiction caused by vaping Juul products.

In the suit, it’s claimed Imani started using Juul vape products in 2018 with no prior history of nicotine use. He claims the company failed to disclose how much nicotine was in those products, to which he says he’s now addicted, and that vaping caused him to have seizures.

“Juul, in advertising and promoting its electronic cigarettes, failed to give an adequate warning about the danger those electronic cigarettes posed to persons likely to be injured by those electronic cigarettes,” the lawsuit reads. “Although some of Juul’s more recent advertisements have mentioned that Juul contains nicotine, those advertisements made no suggestion Juul electronic cigarettes contained more nicotine than competing products.”

The lawsuit accuses the vape companies of negligence for marketing their products to minors; breaching their products’ implied warranty because of their high level of nicotine without thorough advertisement; selling a defective product when there were safer alternatives; fraudulently concealing and misrepresenting the dangers of using their products; engaging in unlawful trade practices; profiting from those abused; and other claims of harm.

Much of the lawsuit relitigates the long history of tobacco advertising and the health problems cigarettes and, more recently, vaping have caused. There is a particular emphasis on the marketing of nicotine products to children, including the use of flavors and cartoon character endorsements.

“It was easy for Juul to copy Big Tobacco’s proven marketing strategy,” the lawsuit states. “But Juul exploited this information to learn how to hook a new generation of America’s youth on nicotine. Juul does not even keep this fact a secret.”

The lawsuit was filed in Lane County Circuit Court by Leslie O’Leary, an attorney at Eugene law firm Johnson, Johnson, Lucas and Middleton. But Scott Powell, an Alabama attorney, will represent the plaintiffs in the likelihood the case is transferred out of state.

Powell could not be reached for comment Tuesday. A request for comment from Juul Labs was not immediately returned Tuesday.

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