Vaping Injuries Are On the Rise
New technology always leaves open the possibility of unforeseen consequences. Vaping is no exception. Hailed as a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking, we’re now seeing its potentially harmful impact. So, what should you do if you’ve been made ill or been injured because of an e-cigarette product?
Vaping and Smoking Cessation
E-cigarette products have been marketed as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes have also been touted as a strategy for smoking cessation for those who smoke traditional combustible cigarettes. There is some limited evidence that vaping can help adults quit smoking combustible cigarettes. The e-cigarette products used in the study cited contain far less nicotine than the leading e-cigarette brands, so these may actually contribute to greater addiction. The recommended smoking cessation methods include nicotine replacement therapy (gum or patches), behavioral therapy such as counseling or medications that reduce the urge to smoke. These have higher quit rates than e-cigarettes and their health effects are not as risky.
Youth and Vaping
The leading manufacturer in the vaping market is a company called JUUL, which has aggressively marketed its products through social media leading to criticism that its products target youth by promoting certain themes which may appeal to younger audiences. Its use of social media influencers was of particular concern. Since the beginning of the year, JUUL has attempted to change its marketing strategies to target older users. In January, it launched a rebrand to market itself as a product to help cigarette users switch to something safer. In March, in launched an employer-targeted campaign whose goal was to entice employers to encourage their employees who smoke to consider the use of JUUL products as a way to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, according to CNBC. There are of course plenty of other manufacturers of vaping products, but JUUL is one of the biggest players in the e-cigarette market.
The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) last year showed that after two years of decline (2015 -2016), use of e-cigarette products among youth increased dramatically from 2017 to 2018. E-cigarettes are reportedly the most commonly used tobacco products by middle school and high school students. The NYTS cites appealing flavors and sleek, discrete design among reasons for the increase in use among teens. JUUL announced last week that it would remove all fruit-flavored e-cigarettes from the market in anticipation of a looming federal government ban on the fruity flavors.
Teens (and even some adults) may have the misconception that vaping is not really smoking because it has been labeled as a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes. While it’s true that e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco (in theory making them safer), they do contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can put your health at risk. Use of e-cigarettes by youth is concerning because teens who try these products are more likely to later try combustible cigarettes, according to the CDC.
Types of Injuries
Vaping and other new technology related injuries (like injuries that result from automated or self-driving cars) fall into a different category of personal injury law: products liability. If someone gets sick from vaping, who is responsible and why? Is it the manufacturer or the distributor? Vaping or e-cigarette related injuries can be grouped into two categories: vape pen explosions and lung illness.
Vape pen explosions – In Texas, victims of a vape pen explosion have the right to seek compensation from both manufacturers and retailers, assuming the products can be shown defective. According to the FDA, vape pen explosions are rare, but their causes are unclear. Some evidence suggests that battery issues may be to blame for some of the explosions, but because there are no clear and stringent safety standards for these products, buyers should be aware of the potential risks and limit their exposure. Injuries may include severe burns, facial injuries, damage to property, cuts and lacerations requiring stitches. Injuries can occur if vape pens explode both during use or when the pens are not in use such as while charging. Users who experience a vape pen explosion or other malfunction should report the incident to the FDA. A qualified Texas personal injury attorney can assist you in evaluating your case to determine if you should pursue damages because of a vape pen explosion related injury.
Lung illness – Amid rising concern about vaping related illnesses, especially among youth, health officials and lawmakers have been calling for more stringent controls and oversight into their manufacture. Federal officials point to almost 1,500 cases of vaping related illnesses across the country as evidence of a crisis. The first vaping-related death was reported in Illinois in August, and a wave of illnesses and deaths have been identified as vaping related since then. It is unclear if this is a new phenomenon or just a previously unrecognized health hazard. Regardless, a rise in illnesses and deaths also means a rise in related lawsuits against manufacturers and retailers, many of whom target youth.
If you or a loved one has been injured or become ill because of vaping, it is important that you contact a qualified Texas personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Defective and recalled products can cause immeasurable harm before they are pulled from the market. Talk to us if you’ve been injured because of vaping.