On September 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported growing wave of 805 reported cases of vaping-related respiratory illness in 46 states These cases are either confirmed (tests have shown there’s no infection causing the illness and vaping appears to be the only culprit) or probable (testing is still underway, or the patient has an infection but doctors don’t think it’s what causing their breathing troubles).
On October 22, the CDC issued a release that 34 deaths stemming from e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to the agency.
Disproportionally, these cases are affecting America’s youth. About half of all reported vaping cases have occurred in patients under 25-years-old. Among teenagers E-cigarettes have become extremely popular. Results from a recent survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that one in four 12th graders said they had vaped in the previous month, a sharp rise from the previous year.
Simply enough vaping works by heating liquid and turning it into steam to be inhaled. The problems are believed to arise when Nicotine or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is mixed with solvents that dissolve and deliver the drugs. When the solvents, or oils, heat up to create an inhalable vapor oil droplets may be left over as the liquid cools back down, and inhaling those drops may cause breathing problems and lung inflammation. Other possible substance discovered in some vaping liquids have been known to include pesticides, thermal decomposition products of propylene glycol, and heavy metals from heating elements.
E-cigarette makers have long claimed that vaping was less harmful than smoking. But without strict oversight safety issues and accusations of using high nicotine levels and flavored products to attract young consumers have plagued the industry.
Nationwide Vaping product manufacturers are already facing an onslaught of product liability lawsuits. The first lawsuits over acute respiratory failure – allegedly caused by vaporizer use – have started to flow into courts across the country. One of the largest makers of E-cigarettes, JUUL Labs inc. is facing a rash of lawsuits over many issues, including elevated nicotine levels, but also over accusations the company is marketing to children. The company accounts for about 75 percent of the e-cigarettes sold in the United States. Those lawsuits also name Altria-Philips Morris, the Big Tobacco company that makes Marlboro and other tobacco cigarettes. Altria purchased 35 percent of JUUL in December 2018.
On September 9, the FDA sent a warning letter to Juul, saying the company violated federal regulations by marketing Juul products as safer than smoking — including to schoolchildren — ahead of winning FDA approval to make those claims.
The Surgeon General of the United States has gone so far as to declare vaping, and specifically youth vaping an epidemic. If you, your child, or a loved one are suffering from the consequences of vaping, which may include respiratory illness, seizures, or nicotine illness, you may be entitled to collect damages for the pain and suffering caused by the makers of these dangerous vaping products. Please call Saunders & Walker at 1-800-748-7115 for a free consultation.
Admitted to practice law in all federal multidistrict litigation courts, the California State Bar and the Florida Bar. His philosophy is to provide aggressive, quality representations and seek fair compensation for individuals and their families who have suffered injury, death, or sexual abuse.