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Athens dad files lawsuit against JUUL for son's 'brain damage'

WAAY 31 dug through the lawsuit and found some stunning details.

Posted: Jul 25, 2019 7:13 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2019 8:26 PM

An Athens dad says his teen son is a victim of JUUL.

Brian Bentley said his son's brain is altered and damaged for life, and, now, he wants the vaping giant to pay up.

Bentley filed a lawsuit, which also names Discount Tobacco on South Jefferson Street in Athens.

WAAY 31 dug through the lawsuit and found some stunning details.

The lawsuit claims Brian Bentley's 17-year-old son has developed a severe nicotine addiction from using a JUUL electronic cigarette, and that that addiction has resulted in a permanent brain injury.

The 89-page lawsuit claims the teen’s father first thought the tobacco-less device was a USB drive for a computer; but, then, he learned of his son's juuling history and he's now concerned for his current and future health.

The suit claims the teen first tried a JUUL at school, where he said it was rampant. He started buying vaping products when he was 16 years old from Discount Tobacco in Athens.

Bentley believes the store is responsible as well because it knowingly sold the product to a minor.

WAAY 31 spoke with the store’s owner who told us they do not and have never sold products to minors.

The store’s employees said they meet customers at the door if they look to be under 30 years old. If they can't show an ID, they're turned away.

The lawsuit states the teen quickly became addicted to nicotine, vaping up to two full JUUL packs a week. That would be the equivalent of 4 to 8 packs of cigarettes.

The teen experienced such fits of rage, Bentley sent him to a military academy in Texas.

The complaint says the teen’s parents tried to get him to quit vaping, but because he was so addicted to nicotine, he began smoking regular cigarettes at age 17.

The complaint says JUUL and the tobacco store have harmed the teen and his parents physically, emotionally, and financially.

Below is a statement from Brian Bentley's attorney, Joseph VanZandt​:

“JUUL knew what it was doing and was very intentional in creating a new generation of nicotine addicts all while leading consumers to believe the products were safe. Everything they did, from designing the product, manipulating the nicotine, and marketing, was targeted at addicting young people to nicotine. Before JUUL, the public health community had spent decades working to drastically lower the rate of cigarette usage among minors, but JUUL systematically unraveled decades of progress and sparked a new nicotine addiction epidemic. JUUL must be held accountable.”

“JUUL has admitted to the media that it’s partly responsible for the teen vaping epidemic. The question now is whether they are going to do the right thing and take responsibility where it matters – with individuals who are victims of their conduct.”

“JUUL has made billions on the backs of America’s youth; they must be held accountable.”

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