The Health Hazards of Vaping
Call them electronic cigarettes or e-cigs; call it vaping or juuling; but it all refers to the same thing: a $7 billion global industry, one with 9 million adult users in the United States alone.
These battery-powered devices provide a substitute for traditional cigarettes by using a liquid nicotine mixture known variously as “e-liquid,” “e-juice,” or “vape juice.” As the liquid is heated and evaporates, the user inhales it into the lungs, getting a buzz or high.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York Times, and other reputable sources have reported serious injuries, illnesses, and deaths due to what the U.S. Surgeon General called “an epidemic.” Beyond the headlines of exploding vape pens, we are finding that vaping leads to a plethora of other health concerns. The Rhine Law Firm, P.C., is currently investigating these cases. Please call (866) 772-9960 to speak to Wilmington mass tort attorney today.
Whether someone partakes in vaping with an open tank system, a vape pen, or a cig-a-like, they are exposed to nicotine or THC, nicotine with THC, and other potentially toxic substances. The smoke of e-cigs shows trace amounts of metal particles, which are double that of traditional cigarettes. Formaldehyde is also present in greater concentration in e-cigarettes, and both substances are known to cause cancer.
In addition, the “hook” associated with vaping – the flavoring – is not adequately tested for human inhalation. Menthol, tobacco, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and bubblegum are popular with vapers. But researchers who published a study in Tobacco Control found that some of the more popular flavor chemicals - benzaldehyde and vanillin - are known respiratory irritants, and that vapers tend to inhale twice the recommended occupational limit of these chemicals. Only 30 flavorings were tested here, but there are thousands out there – and few, if any, have been tested for chronic health issues.
But we do already know of a few things that e-cigarettes have caused.
To date, different scientific studies and medical evidence have linked vaping to:
- Nicotine or THC addiction
- Nicotine poisoning
- Anxiety and learning disabilities (especially in younger vapers)
- Headaches and seizures
- Lung disease, from “popcorn lung” to pneumonia to fatal respiratory distress
- Heart conditions, such as higher blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and plaque buildup in blood vessels, increasing the risk of strokes
- Reduced immune system responses, including ability to fight infections
- Burns, whether through skin contact with the e-juice or an exploding vape pen
Right now, most of those who are coming down with lung injuries are male, under 25 years old, and used THC-based solutions, as reported by the New York Times. There are over 800 probable lung-related cases at this point in time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and thirteen people have died in ten states. “[There are] hundreds of hospitalizations, with many in intensive care units. [CDC principal deputy director] Dr. Schuchat said some patients are on ventilators and therefore are unable to tell investigators what substances they vaped.”
In addition to all the effects listed above, e-liquid is poisonous to consume. Many young children across the United States have ingested the tasty-smelling liquid, and this can be fatal without immediate treatment. The long-term effects are still unknown.
Lawmakers, public health officials, and the courts are struggling to catch up with the epidemic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does have vaping product regulations, but it has not approved e-cigs as a safe or effective method to quit smoking, or specifically banned the product for minors.
Based on the rise in lung-related hospitalization and deaths, as well as the fact that teenage vaping has doubled since just 2017, the Trump administration and several states have proposed outlawing flavored e-cigarettes, at the very least.
The CDC currently recommends that people cease all vaping until the health effects are studied further.
Vaping lawsuits are pending in courts across the U.S. There are over 500 companies that offer vape products, and we fully expect to see more litigation as we learn about the health fallout of electronic cigarettes. One “brand” in particular has already attracted the wrong kind of attention.
JUUL is a company worth billions of dollars. Its vaporizers have been marketed as a way for smokers to transition to a “healthier” habit, while they try to quit smoking altogether. However, JUULpods contain more nicotine than other comparable e-cigs on the market. And before November 2018, JUUL did not warn consumers that nicotine was in its products at all.
Beyond this, JUUL knowingly marketed its dangerous product to middle-school and high-school-age children. On September 9, 2019 the FDA sent a warning letter to JUUL which stated the company was in violation of the law because of their illegal marketing practices touting the safety of vaping. The letter states that JUUL referring to their products as “99% safer” than cigarettes, “much safer” than cigarettes, “totally safe,” and “a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes” is particularly concerning because these statements were made directly to children in school. Because of deceitful marketing practices aimed at children, thousands of young people have been saddled with a greater likelihood of developing addiction and suffering the toxic side effects of nicotine. Giving up the habit to regain your health can be a very expensive process, both physically and financially. And JUUL should be the one to pay for it.
Anyone under 18 who used a JUUL vaporizer prior to the November 2018 warning should consider speaking to a product liability lawyer. The Rhine Law Firm, P.C., in Wilmington handles cases around the country, so call (866) 772-9960 to explore your options.
- What You Need To Know About Vaping
- Vaper City: Are There Dangerous Chemicals in my E-Liquid Flavorings?
- 10 Vaping Health Risks
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