You might think that vaping is better for you because you’re not smoking cigarettes. You may have even started vaping as a safe way to quit smoking.
Except you seem to hear a lot about vaping-related injury and hospitalization. More and more lawsuits are being filed against vape manufacturing companies.
From toxic chemicals to exploding cartridges – it turns out e-cigarettes are not without risks.
If you didn’t know about the dangerous side of vaping, you’re not the only one. Because these products are new, health research and laws are only now catching up. In fact, the FDA does not consider any e-cigarette safe or effective for smokers who are trying to quit. Some cartridges have even higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes.
Injuries have occurred across the United States. Vaping companies like JUUL are being sued for false advertising and kid-friendly marketing.
These cases involve not just nicotine but also cannabis products, including CBD vapes, THC cartridges, and synthetic cannabinoids like K2. Many of the incidents have happened to otherwise healthy people of all ages.
So what do you do if you’ve been affected by these products?
The first step is to get informed. The second is to get a strong advocate on your side. You can reach an experienced personal injury lawyer at Harlan Law by calling (619) 870-0802.
What Are the Health Risks of Vaping?
The dangers of smoking cigarettes are well known. Not only does smoking cause cancer, but it also damages the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, skin, and bones.
While most smokers are aware of the risks, the addictive nature of cigarettes makes it incredibly difficult to stop. One of the ways cigarette smokers attempt to quit is by switching from smoking cigarettes to vaping with e-cigarettes.
Most researchers agree that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes because they don’t contain tar or most of the other poisonous gases found in cigarette smoke. However, these electronic devices come with other dangers you might not expect.
Health experts worry that substances in e-liquids may harm human cells or contain dangerous chemicals. To make things worse, counterfeit products make it hard to tell which chemicals are causing the problem. And “pop-up” shops may sell tainted products with illegal additives.
If you’re a vape or e-cigarette user, keep an eye out for unexplained breathing problems or lung injury. Symptoms of severe lung disease from vaping could include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight loss
The high levels of nicotine found in e-cigarettes can also cause seizures.
In recent cases, emergency patients had to be admitted to the hospital for weeks, sometimes in the intensive care unit or on ventilators – even when they had no history of pulmonary issues.
Vaping-related injuries can be hard to identify and treat. They may be misdiagnosed as common lung infections and then develop into more serious complications.
Both the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are looking into the side effects of these vaping liquids.
What Does Vaping Do to Your Lungs?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report in 2018 that reviewed over 800 studies. They concluded that:
- E-cigarettes contain potentially toxic substances
- Using e-cigarettes causes health risks
- The more ingredients you inhale, the greater the risk
Some of the most harmful ingredients include:
- Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, the two primary ingredients in e-cigarettes found to be toxic to cells
- Chemicals like acetaldehyde and formaldehyde that can cause lung or heart disease (formaldehyde is a known carcinogen)
- Acrolein, an herbicide used to kill weeds that can cause severe lung injury, COPD, acute asthma, and lung cancer
- Chemical flavorings like diacetyl, which is linked to serious lung disease
- Benzene, which also occurs in car exhaust
- Heavy metals like lead, nickel, and tin
- Flavorings like cinnamon that can cause inflammation of the lung cells
- Particles that settle and accumulate deep in your lungs
Can You Get Lung Cancer from Vaping?
Many people switch from smoking to vaping with the thought of reducing their risk of developing health problems, like lung cancer. But e-cigarettes can expose you to other damaging substances.
Heavy metals, unnatural flavorings, and chemicals like formaldehyde are serious concerns for lung cancer. In some studies, e-cigarette vapor contained cancer-causing formaldehyde at up to a 15 times higher rate than normal cigarettes.
Higher-voltage e-cigs produced an even larger amount of formaldehyde-containing chemical compounds.
Can You Get Popcorn Lung from Vaping?
Diacetyl is a buttery flavoring used in e-cigarette cartridges in the United States. It’s been linked to a serious lung condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung.
What Is Popcorn Lung Disease?
Popcorn lung disease got its name when workers at a popcorn packaging factory got sick from breathing in the chemical diacetyl. As a result, some manufacturers stopped using diacetyl for flavoring. But despite being banned in Europe, diacetyl is still used in e-cigarettes in the US.
Common flavors that contain diacetyl:
- Fruit flavors
- Candy flavors
- Alcohol and cocktail flavors
Diacetyl irritates, inflames, and scars the air sacs in your lungs. As a result, your air passages become thick and narrow, making it harder for you to get enough air. The chemical acetaldehyde also causes popcorn lung and damages your mouth, throat, and stomach.
These substances can cause serious health consequences for vape and e-cig users. Symptoms of popcorn lung include a dry cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, headache, fatigue, fever, and other health problems.
Popcorn lung disease can leave permanent damage, so you want to catch it early to keep it from getting worse. Your doctor can scan your chest with CT scans and X-rays to see how well your lungs are working. Ultimately, you’ll have to get a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis.
JUUL Class Action Lawsuit 2018-2019
You may have used a JUUL product yourself. Since its creation in 2015, the JUUL e-cigarette has become the most popular product on the market.
The JUUL is a small vape pen that doesn’t smell like cigarettes. Its discreet design makes it easy to hide. Flavors like mango, watermelon, and creme brulee make the JUUL appealing to kids. So much so that “JUULing” has become a popular term for vaping with JUUL products.
Because vape pens have been advertised as a safer alternative to cigarettes, adults and children alike are more likely to try them. And because the nicotine levels are so high, e-cigarettes and vape pens are much more addictive than people realize.
As a result, the United States is experiencing an epidemic of youth and teen vaping.
Hundreds of personal injury and false advertising claims have been filed – even class action lawsuits. Until the law catches up, these issues will continue to be litigated in court.
Exploding JUUL Pods
Most e-cigarettes are powered by lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have a history of exploding in both e-cigs and other devices like cellphones.
JUUL pods can explode both while you’re using the product and while charging. Some have even exploded in transport or storage. Because people hold the JUUL so close to their faces, some of these incidents have caused severe personal injuries and even death.
Why Do E-Cigarette Batteries Explode?
E-cigarettes are a type of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) in the same class of devices as vaporizers, vape pens, and hookah pens.
Inside an e-cigarette, a lithium-ion battery is used to power an atomizer, which converts liquid nicotine into the vapor that you inhale. These batteries are small and powerful and have proven to be dangerous with cell phones, laptops, hoverboards, and now e-cigarettes.
Reasons Vapes May Explode
The shape and construction of e-cigarettes make these devices extremely likely to catch on fire when a battery fails. Because e-cigarettes are cylindrical, a combusted battery can shoot out with extreme force.
The lack of industry-wide manufacturing standards and testing programs also means low-cost, low-quality lithium-ion batteries are being marketed and sold. These cheap products have a greater chance of defects compared to well-made batteries.
E-cigarette batteries can also explode if the cells are overcharged or charged too quickly. Extreme temperatures may lead to a device malfunction as well. These accidents can happen without warning – even when an e-cigarette is being used or if the batteries are loose in a user’s pocket.
E-Cigarette Products Liability Jury Verdicts and Settlements
Most consumers don’t expect to be harmed by the products they use every day. Unfortunately, devastating and life-altering injuries happen all the time. Victims have the power to hold product manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and wholesalers accountable for their negligence. Take a look at the two jury verdicts below to see how a product liability lawsuit can unfold.
- Victim awarded $1.95 million after e-cigarette charger starts fire
In 2013, this victim purchased an e-cigarette kit containing a lithium-ion battery and decided to charge the battery in her car’s USB power port. Liquid began dripping from the battery and a chemical smell filled the car. Moments later, the battery exploded and sprayed shards of metal throughout the car, setting the victim’s dress and the passenger seat on fire.
The victim suffered second-degree burns to her legs, backside, and hands. She sued the distributor, wholesaler, and retailer for strict products liability and was awarded $1.95 million for her injuries.
- Gainesville man awarded $2 million after e-cigarette explodes in his mouth
In 2016, this victim brought his e-cigarette device to his lips, inhaled, and the battery and vaping device exploded in his mouth.
The explosion blew out four of the plaintiff’s teeth and caused severe bleeding in his mouth. He was rushed to the hospital where was treated for his injuries. The plaintiff’s medical expenses totaled $27,800 with an anticipated additional $20,000 worth of medical bills.
After jury deliberation, the eBay retailer who sold the plaintiff a faulty battery was ordered to pay $2 million for pain and suffering plus the $47,800 for medical expenses.
Which E-Cigarette and Vape Battery Brands Are Unsafe?
Lithium-ion batteries make it possible to charge your cellphone, laptop, and other portable electronic devices. So what makes one battery safe and another prone to catching on fire?
Most experts agree that it comes down to manufacturing defects and lack of quality control.
- The E-Lites brand came under scrutiny in 2014 when an e-cigarette exploded while charging, starting a fire that damaged a family’s flat in the U.K.
- In 2017, a lawsuit claimed a Wisconsin woman suffered severe burns on her legs, hips, thighs, and buttocks from carrying two e-cigarette batteries in her pocket and named Liion Wholesale as the offending battery brand.
- More recently in 2018, R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. issued a nationwide safety recall of all of the Vuse Vibe power units used for about 2.6 million e-cigarettes after consumer reports that the batteries overheated, creating a fire risk.
- Other brands known for selling faulty e-cigarettes and e-cigarette batteries include V2 Cigs, Smokin T, Bellos, Crown Seven, Kangertech, and 88Vape.
Have You Been Injured from an E-Cigarette Failure?
A report from the U.S. Fire Administration showed that 195 separate incidents of explosion and fire involving an electronic cigarette were reported by the U.S. media between 2009 and 2016. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to an e-cigarette accident, contact a personal injury and products liability attorney right away.
Harlan Law has helped countless people get justice for their personal injuries so they can heal and get closure. While nothing can erase the pain and anguish of a burn injury due to an e-cigarette failure, you can hold the negligent party responsible.
Filing a Vape Related Lawsuit
There’s a lot to be concerned about when it comes to e-cigarettes. The amount of information out there can be overwhelming.
On top of that, your injuries or symptoms may be scary and confusing. They may make it difficult for you to function in daily life. Hospital bills can also become impossible to pay.
It’s important to protect yourself and fight for your rights when you’re in a vulnerable position. This is especially true when you’re up against a corporation with many more resources than you. Get your health checked by a doctor and talk to a lawyer about your legal options today. It’s important with a vaping injury to act fast.
Harlan Law is a San Diego-based firm that handles personal injury claims with the empathy and vigilance that you deserve. Call us at 619-870-0802 to schedule your first, free consultation today.