In a new lawsuit, former Juul vice-president Siddharth Breja alleges that the company, which has recently come under fire for marketing its addictive product to teens, knowingly sold one million contaminated vape juice pods to customers earlier this year. Breja also says he was wrongfully fired one week after raising concerns about the contaminated pods, which he says then-CEO Kevin Burns dismissed.
“Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the fuck is going to notice the quality of our pods,” said Burns, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also charges Juul with a culture of “disregard for the law, public safety, and public health.” Breja says that during his tenure, the company often attempted to resell expired vaping pods. When Breja suggested that packaging include a “best by” date, he says, Burns made the alleged “mo-fos” comment. Burns has denied making this statement, and in a comment to NBC News, a Juul spokesperson called Breja’s claims “baseless.”
Charges of contaminated pods are especially resonant as cases of vaping illness continue to grow: as of the CDC’s last reporting, 1,604 people have gotten sick with the illness (also called EVALI), and 34 people died. It remains unclear whether Juul is directly or indirectly responsible for any of these cases; most (though not all) cases have been tied to black market THC products. Still, the damage done by e-cigarettes like Juul is increasingly hard to ignore.