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Hundreds of thousands of customers complained to Juul about leaky pods

Hundreds of thousands of customers complained to Juul about leaky pods


Health related issues accounted for 0.2 percent of the database

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Illustrations of Juul e-cigarettes.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Around 12 percent of customer complaints made to Juul between 2015 and 2018 were due to leaking nicotine pods, Bloomberg reported. Records of customer complaints were reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration during an agency inspection of Juul Labs in September 2018, and obtained by Bloomberg through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The company’s internal database recorded just under 1.3 million customer complaints during the three year period. Approximately 156,000 were from users who reported that liquid was leaking out of the pods and into their mouths — an issue documented on message boards and vaping websites over the past few years. A handful of people said that accidentally swallowing the liquid made them sick.

Juul “determined that leaks did not constitute a significant health hazard,” Austin Finan, a Juul spokesman, told Bloomberg.

About 0.2 percent of the complaints in the database were health-related issues, where customers said they had illnesses or safety concerns they thought were related to using Juuls. Health issues reported to the company included everything from burning lungs to canker sores. One user said that her throat started to bleed after using mango pods, and that she was diagnosed with a “burned throat” by a doctor.

Details on the customer complaints come as Juul remains under investigation by a number of federal agencies over concerns it illegally markets to kids and makes illegal claims about its health risks. It’s also been sued by a number of states, including New York.

Juul is also still under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration, which announced at the start of January that it plans to take action against vaping companies that don’t prevent product use by minors. The agency also ordered companies to stop selling flavored e-cigarette cartridges, a move Juul got ahead of by stopping its sale of fruit flavored pods in October. It is still allowed to sell menthol and tobacco-flavored products.