If you follow national news, you may have noticed a recent spat in headlines associated with the dangers of vaping. Young adults in high school or heading off to college who were previously healthy have suddenly succumbed to dangerous forms of pneumonia, bringing them to the brink of death and, sometimes, taking their lives. While doctors were initially puzzled at how quickly their health condition plummeted, it soon became clear once they learned that the individuals had engaged in vaping.
Vaping is a relatively new pastime that has increased in popularity as restrictions on smoking have escalated. E-cigarettes arrived in the market back in 2007 as a ‘safer’ alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Many habitual smokers struggling to quit turned to vaping as a means to kick their old habit. Young adults and teens who found it increasingly difficult to purchase tobacco cigarettes because of tightening laws have taken up vaping as a favorite pastime. In addition, new vaping devices have also hit the market, owing to the popularity of the e-cigarette. These devices are known as advanced personal vaporizers or MODS, e-hookas, and vape pens. Because these are new products, there have been no long-term studies to indicate their long-term health risks. Unfortunately, many users are discovering that vaping, like tobacco cigarette smoking, can seriously detract from their health.
Our legal firm focuses on personal injury cases associated with vaping and vaping products. If you or a loved one has suffered health complications because of e-cigarettes or related products, you may be entitled to achieve compensation for your medical expenses, lost work wages, and pain and suffering. If you engage in the practice of vaping, you should definitely be aware of this practice’s potentially serious hazards.
What Is A Vaping Device?
A vaping device essentially consists of a heating element, mouthpiece, battery, and a cartridge that contains the vaping liquid. Companies that sell vaping liquid (also known as e-juice) feature a wide array of flavors—and many signature, patented flavor formulas at that. Common vaping flavors include menthol, strawberry, chocolate, and coffee. On the other hand, there are lots of creative e-juice products on the market today including flavors and flavor combinations like vanilla custard with pralines, blueberry cheesecake, rainbow sherbet, and cinnamon funnel cake. Not only do the flavors sound enticing but so do e-juice names like “Unicorn Milk,” “Churros and Ice Cream Oneup Vapors,” and “Strawberry Sour Straws Bazooka.”
The attractive flavors and vaping liquid names are important to note as they are widely popular with a young audience. Critics of e-juice producers argue that they are marketing to young adults who are vulnerable to advertisement campaigns.
Do You Know What’s In Your E-Cigarette?
Unfortunately, many people, especially young people, have the mistaken notion that widely sold products like e-cigarettes are safe for consumers. Vaping liquids and their associated devices do not appear to be harmless, however. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control reported on the potentially harmful substances contained in the vaping liquid and its aerosol. Some of the ultra-fine particles include nicotine, solvents, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and even carcinogenic compounds. Each type of particulate is a hazard in itself, but collectively, they make vaping an immensely dangerous pastime.
What many users of these products don’t realize is that e-cigarettes emit ultra-tiny particles of these potentially toxic substances that can get lodged deeply in the lungs. They can even be absorbed in the circulatory system. In the case of heavy metal particulates like nickel, tin, aluminum, and silica, increased risk for serious organ—even brain damage—can occur. Not surprising, these particulates can also increase a person’s cancer risk.
Teens And Vaping
While vaping poses risks for all users, teens are at heightened risk because they may be more sensitive to the chemicals they’re exposed to. Even while some chemicals may be effectively harmless in certain situations, they can pose a health risk when heated by the e-cigarette’s heating element and breathed in. Researchers are also concerned about teens developing serious nicotine addictions, having started using it at such an early age. One study out of Yale found that teens who vaped were more likely to use traditional cigarettes in time. Many teenagers are not aware of the dangers that nicotine poses to their development.
Officers around the country have reported that it’s difficult to determine what is, in fact, in a person’s vape pen unless it’s tested in their forensic laboratory. Many types of illicit drugs can be ‘vaped.’ Today, many people are vaping synthetic drugs and psycho-active substances from their personal vaping devices. It’s possible to overdose when vaping dangerous drugs like flakka, for instance, because users can’t know how much of the drug is contained in the vaping liquid. THC, K2, DMT, and spice are also associated with illicit vaping trends about young adults and teens.
Vaping And Long-Term Research
While most researchers still conclude that traditional tobacco cigarettes with their 7,000 chemical compounds still pose a drastically higher risk to health than e-cigarettes, they also note that much more research is needed to determine just how hazardous vaping can be to health. Scary headlines of hospitalized teens with failing lungs has been linked to the practice of vaping, but the medical community has more studies to conduct.
In the meantime, people who vape should take note of the warnings that exist in association with these products. Long-term studies are needed to determine the level of risk that these products pose to teens and adults alike.
Vaping And Known Dangers
Of course, doctors are well aware of some health problems that appear to be caused by vaping. Vaper’s cough, for example, is a condition much like chronic bronchitis that is sometimes compared to ‘smoker’s cough.’ According to one study involving teens, individuals who vaped were two times as likely to have chronic bronchitis as individuals who had never vaped. Researchers are still attempting to determine if vaping can cause permanent lung damage or lead to an acute illness like pneumonia.
It’s clear that vaping is linked to potentially serious and life-threatening respiratory problems. In fact, as of the summer of 2019, mysterious respiratory problems are plaguing some people who vape. The vaping appears to make their lungs more susceptible to breathing difficulties. Some people have wound up in intensive care, needing ventilators or intubation. Many of these sufferers have been in their late teens or early twenties. While it’s possible that some of these illnesses occurred in people who used black market vaping products, it’s not clear of all cases had that in common.
In addition, the development of addiction to the nicotine or simply the act of vaping can occur. Substance addiction is a serious chronic condition. Addiction also changes the chemistry of the brain. As addiction changes brain chemistry, individuals can develop dysfunctional patterns of thinking and behaviors. Substance addiction involves problems with impulse control, for example, and people with serious addictions sometimes struggle to control themselves from taking engaging in risky behaviors.
While e-cigarettes that are working as designed may be risky enough when it comes to health, some defective e-cigarettes and personal vaping devices have already caused serious—even deadly—accidents. A defective e-cigarette battery, for example, can cause fire or even an explosion. In these cases where a defective product caused an injury, victims may certainly elect to pursue a personal injury claim to win compensation for their pain and suffering, medical costs, and lost work wages.
Vaping-Related Injuries And Your Rights
If you’ve been injured by a malfunctioning vaping device or are suffering from a vaping-related illness such as a chronic respiratory problem, you should consider consulting with our firm to discuss your potential claim. Every claim is different, so we cannot provide specific legal counsel until we examine your particular situation. What we can say is that we are diligent about pursuing justice for our clients.
The fact is, the vaping industry—its e-cigarette makers and e-juice manufacturers—have made claims that its products are safe. If you have been harmed and we can demonstrate that this harm is in relation to vaping or vaping products, we can make the case that you deserve fair compensation by law. We are an experienced legal firm that focuses on personal injury law. Increasingly, we’ve been taking on cases that involve vaping-related health problems and injuries. Contact us so we can assess your claim and provide you with our initial evaluation of your case. If you choose to hire our attorneys to pursue compensation, you can rely on us to negotiate or litigate aggressively on your behalf.