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Vaping, E-Cigarette Related Injuries

Popular Vaping Products Causing Serious Lung Injuries

In 2019, over 5 million youths reported using e-cigarettes, an alarming increase from the 3.6 million who were using e-cigarettes in 2018.

Those numbers are frightening considering the addictive nature of e-cigarettes and the potential damage it can cause.

Because the ingredients and actual vaping tools on the market aren’t properly monitored, a number of illnesses and injuries have been reported. Our experienced injury lawyers expand more on vaping, JUUL, and the effects of using e-cigarettes below.

If you, a loved one, or your child have suffered from injuries or have become addicted to nicotine after using e-cigarettes, the product liability attorneys at Gemma Law can help. Call (401) 467-2300 for a free consultation.

What is Vaping and JUULing?

Vaping is the use of an e-cigarette. The term arose from the idea that e-cigarette users inhale a vapor that e-cigarettes create. However, that’s not true. E-cigarettes produce an aerosol made of tiny particles by heating a liquid. The liquid contains nicotine and flavorings like fruit, mint, or candy.

E-cigarettes are also called e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes, and ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). 

JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette that’s particularly popular among teens. “JUULing” has come to mean using JUULs, vaping, or using an e-cigarette.

Though JUUL is not the only e-cigarette available in the United States, it seems to be the preferred brand among high school students. One reason may be because JUULs and many other e-cigarettes are so easy to hide: they often look like USB flash drives, cigars, pipes, or regular cigarettes. They also don’t produce the distinct smell that cigarettes do, so it’s easy to hide their use as well.

Misconceptions and Dangers of Vaping

Vaping and using JUULs is harmful in a variety of ways. First, there are misconceptions that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking.

Since e-cigarettes heat liquid nicotine instead of burning tobacco, some believe that they don’t produce as many cancer-causing chemicals.

JUUL even illegally marketed its products as “less harmful than tobacco cigarettes” in 2019, causing the Food and Drug Administration to send them a warning letter.

The idea that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking is untrue. In a statement on e-cigarettes from 2018, the American Cancer Society stated that many e-cigarettes sold in the U.S. contain far more nicotine than e-cigarettes sold elsewhere, increasing the risk of addiction and bodily harm to people.

For example, the FDA is investigating JUUL’s use of something called nicotine salts, which makes nicotine easier to consume, allowing users to take in higher doses of nicotine concentration at a time.

And while the obvious risks of e-cigarette use are clear, there are also some concerning trends that risk the immediate safety of those who use JUUL and other vaping methods.

Injuries, Fatalities, and Health Issues Caused by Vaping

While it’s far from expected, injuries from JUULs and vapes are climbing: In 2019, a 17-year-old boy in Utah was seriously injured when an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth and broke his jaw. Doctors had to remove several of the boy’s teeth and put in a dental plate under his lower gums to stabilize his lower jaw.

This isn’t an isolated incident. In 2018, a 38-year-old man in Florida died when the battery in his e-cigarette malfunctioned and exploded, killing him instantly. In early 2019, a 25-year-old Texas man died after the e-cigarette he was using exploded and tore his carotid artery.

Though e-cigarette explosions appear to be rare, they’re quite dangerous. While rare, there have been enough exploding batteries the FDA sent new safety recommendations for e-cigarette manufacturers in June 2019.

While deadly malfunctions are rare, there’s no denying the health risks associated with vaping: The EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury) outbreak of lung injuries due to e-cigarette use increased mid-2019 and peaked in September.

As of February 2020, nearly 3,000 cases of hospitalization and 68 deaths have been reported to the CDC. The number of emergency department visits is on a gradual decline, but it’s still important to understand EVALI, as well as other signs and symptoms of health issues.

What causes EVALI?

The data shows that vitamin E acetate, a common additive in e-cigarette products, is strongly linked to the EVALI outbreak.

Vitamin E acetate was found in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of a large number of EVALI patients, causing severe lung injury and illness. Though vitamin E acetate is thought to be the primary cause of EVALI, it may not be the only cause. There are other substances and ingredients in vaping materials that can also cause harm to users.

If you vape or use JUUL, be on alert for signs and symptoms of serious respiratory problems, such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain

If you or a loved one are experiencing some of these symptoms, have them checked out by a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

How a Product Liability Lawyer at Gemma Law Can Help

E-cigarette companies like JUUL have illegally targeted youth consumers, skirted market regulations, and used improper disclaimers on their products.

If you, your child, or a loved one have suffered from an injury caused by a vape pen, or are currently suffering from a vaping-related lung illness, respiratory disease, or e-cigarette addiction, a product liability attorney with Gemma Law can help.

Our product liability team at Gemma Law can help you fight for your rights and receive compensation for your suffering caused by using these products and substances. If you are an e-cigarette, vape, or JUUL user, Gemma Law is ready to speak to you about your claim.

Call Gemma Law at (401) 467-2300 for a free consultation, or contact us through our website. You can also stay up to date on vaping/JUUL news and resources by following us on Facebook or on Twitter.

  • Peter Gemma

    Peter Gemma is a personal injury attorney in Rhode Island, and is a Principal at Gemma Law Associates, Inc. He has over 30 years of legal experience, as well as bar admission to practice in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Peter’s specialty areas include personal injury, products liability, and construction accidents. You can reach him at peter@gemmalaw.com.

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