Injuries From Defective E-Cigarettes
When e-cigarettes and vapes were first released, they were touted as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes because users inhale vaporized liquid instead of smoke. There were also claims that vaping could help current smokers with their nicotine addiction. JUUL Labs, the largest e-cigarette company in the U.S., sold over $1 billion worth of products in 2018. As e-cigarettes have become more popular, there have been more cases of vaping-related injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 2,711 serious injuries and 60 deaths that were related to vaping as of January 2020. Some patients suffered from what is known as "popcorn lung," but common device issues injured many others. If a JUUL or a similar device has injured you, the vaping injury attorneys at Leav & Steinberg LLP can help you hold the manufacturer of your e-cigarette or vaping liquid responsible.
Injuries Related to E-cigarettes
E-cigarettes became popular because they're portable and were described as less damaging to the lungs than cigarettes. As such, many companies rushed to produce e-cigarette products and capitalize on that popularity. Vapes use batteries to heat liquids that contain propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, flavoring, and other additives. The liquid is heated to 212-482 °F to create a vapor that the user can inhale. Vaping-related injuries are typically divided into three categories:
- Device malfunction injuries
- Lung damage
- Brain damage
Injuries From E-cigarette Device Malfunctions
There are several ways that a defective device can cause harm. Most e-cigarettes use lithium-ion batteries to heat the vape liquid. Many other electronics, such as cell phones and laptops, also use lithium-ion batteries; however, those typically undergo years of testing before being sold to consumers. The same can't be said of the many low-cost e-cigarette battery brands found in gas stations and bodegas. These batteries can explode after being charged for too long or being exposed to other metals in the user's pocket, such as keys or coins. Also, because vape fluid reaches such high temperatures before being inhaled, malfunctions in the vape cartridge, mouthpiece, or the heating coil can cause the liquid to burn users.
Vaping-related Lung Injuries
Because e-cigarettes are relatively new, there's a lack of research regarding how vaping affects smokers' long-term health. However, there were many reports of patients who were heavy e-cigarette users being hospitalized with difficulty breathing in 2019. Some of them were diagnosed with obliterative bronchiolitis (OB), more commonly known as "popcorn lung." Typically, people develop this disease after decades of exposure to chemical irritants, so it was strange to see patients who were so young suffering from OB. After performing research, several studies linked some of the chemical compounds found in some e-cigarette liquids to popcorn lung, including diacetyl, vitamin E acetate, acetaldehyde, and pentanedione. Higher concentrations of these chemicals were found in black market vape cartridges. Currently, there are no treatments that can reverse the damage of popcorn lung.
Vaping-related Brain Injuries
The human brain continues to develop until the age of 25. People who form habits like drinking or smoking when they're younger are more likely to become addicted. In December 2019, Congress passed a bill that would increase the age to buy tobacco products to 21. The popularity of vaping among young people was a driving force behind this legislation, as well as the efforts of vaping companies to market their products to young people. With sweet and fruity flavors like bubble gum, cotton candy, and blue raspberry, e-cigarette manufacturers appeared to target younger users by distancing their products from tobacco. Research by the State of New York showed that smoking among high school students increased by 160% between 2014 and 2018. To further combat vaping among teens, all flavors of e-cigarette, aside from menthol and tobacco, are now banned in New York State.
Contact Leav & Steinberg
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or medical complications because of the negligence of e-cigarette manufacturers, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit on your behalf. At Leav & Steinberg, we can pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, emotional damages, and more. We represent clients in all five boroughs and across the Tri-state area. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call 212-766-5222 or contact us online.