Understanding the Dangers of Vaping
In recent years, vaping has become a popular alternative to traditional tobacco products for individuals looking to fight against nicotine addiction, and it has even become a mainstay of marijuana users. However, these products have also become extremely popular among young adults and teens as a result of trendy marketing, colorfully packaged products, and a lack of proper warning labels. While the term “vaping” has become sensationalized due to major headlines, most consumers do not fully understand what these products are and how dangerous they can be.
What is Vaping?
In contrast to tobacco or marijuana cigarettes, which often involves the burning of a plant-based product, e-cigarettes and vape pens create an inhaling vapor by boiling a flavored liquid in a cartridge for the user to inhale. This heating process and the resulting inhalation is referred as “vaping.” Vaping cartridges often utilize complex chemical formulas, but the most popular products contain concentrations of nicotine, THC, and CBD. Unlike tobacco products, these cartridges are flavored to make the experience more enjoyable for the user through the use of fruit-based flavors.
E-cigarettes come in a variety of shapes and styles, but most are generally broken down into small vape pens and larger “box mods” that can be customized with different types of coils, batteries, and inhalers. These devices commonly utilize lithium-ion batteries to produce an electrical charge, which are prone to exploding.
The Popularity of Vaping
While vaping was initially marketed to smokers as a safer alternative to using tobacco products, it has become extremely common among young adults. An estimated 37% of high school seniors reported vaping in 2018, as surveyed by the National Institute of Health (NIH), which is a 9% increase from numbers reported in 2017. In addition, an analysis done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that over five million teenagers have vaped, 10% of which are children in middle schools.
How E-Cigarettes are Marketed
By far, the most popular brand of e-cigarettes is JUUL Labs, Inc., which has come under fire for marketing vaping to teenagers. Within the first six months of its debut on the market, JUUL launched a multi-level marketing campaign aimed at acquiring young consumers, utilizing everything from influencers to trendy social media posts to capture their attention. The company also staged events for high schools and summer camps to market the safety features of JUUL’s products, falsely claiming that it was a healthier alternative to smoking.
These dangerous marketing practices had led to a federal investigation by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calling on JUUL and other vaping companies to share company files regarding their marketing strategies. While the investigation into e-cigarette brands is partially based on the false claims and lack of warning labels, these companies are also under scrutiny for the injuries caused by their e-cigarette products.
What Makes Vaping Dangerous
The term “popcorn lung” has returned to the public eye as a result of the various lawsuits leveled against JUUL. This term was initially used to reference lung injuries suffered by factory workers who inhaled dangerous chemicals that were once used in popcorn production—specifically the chemical diacetyl. This chemical can cause obliterative bronchiolitis (popcorn lung) when inhaled and lead to irreversible lung damage.
With regards to vaping, this chemical has been found in popular JUUL products that utilize fruit-based flavorings. The chemical was used to mask the flavor of nicotine and THC in e-liquids, but it can have serious health effects. In addition to diacetyl, THC-based e-liquids have shown large concentrations of Vitamin E acetate, which is safe in small doses, but when inhaled it can severely damage the lungs. The CDC has dubbed these conditions EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping product-use lung injuries. Cases of EVALI have reached over 2,800 hospitalizations since February 2020, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of an EVALI include:
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Nausea and stomach issues
- Chest pain
- Lung damage
- Heart attacks
In addition to the dangers of developing an EVALI, there is also the risk of developing a nicotine, THC, or CBD addiction, which can be detrimental to young adults and teenagers.
Have You Suffered a Vaping Injury? Call Us!
As JUUL and other e-cigarette companies come under public and governmental scrutiny, many injured parties have come forward with lawsuits and claims for damages, including costs related to developing an EVALI and even wrongful death claims. As more research comes out about the dangers of vaping, it is important for parents and young adults to come forward with claims to ensure they receive proper compensation for vaping injuries.
If you or someone you love has suffered a vaping injury due to a negligent e-cigarette manufacturer, then you should not hesitate to contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. With over a decade of experience advocating for compensation for injured parties, our Omaha product liability attorney is a staunch ally for victims and their families who have suffered due to careless corporations. Call us at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free case evaluation and discuss your case.
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