In recent months, there has been a sudden rise in the number of injuries related to vaping and media coverage of the harmful effects associated with it. And with this rise in injuries comes the possibility for product liability lawsuits. These suits could come in the form of manufacturing defects, design defects, or warning defects.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the term for the inhalation of vaporized liquid. Originally vaping was introduced as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco products. However, it is important to note that the FDA never approved vaping devices (e-cigarettes) as a product to help people quit smoking.
In most states, the legal age to buy vape products is 18. This is because, despite not actually containing tobacco, they are considered tobacco products. Some states such as New Jersey have raised the legal age limit to buy these and other tobacco products to 21. But, while it is illegal to purchase these products below the legal age limit, there are currently no laws prohibiting a minor from owning such products.
Teenage Vaping is on the Rise Despite Harmful Effects
11% of high school seniors vape, and teens are more likely to vape than adults. So why is vaping so popular among teenagers? It all comes down to marketing and perceptions surrounding vaping.
The vape liquid known as “juice” comes in a variety of flavors, many of which are “kid-friendly.” While a teenager may be put off by the taste or smell of a cigarette, they can get vape juice that tastes and smells like their favorite candy.
It has also been shown that the vast majority of teens who vape do not understand what it is they are inhaling. Many believe it simply to be flavored water, which isn’t the case. And many teens do not consider the most popular e-cigarette brand, Juul, to be an e-cigarette or vaping device. For some reason, these kids think this brand is a different product altogether and do not even consider what they are doing as vaping.
However, one of the biggest problems with teen vaping is that it is mostly teens who would otherwise not be smoking who are vaping. These teens see vaping as harmless, but a study by Yale health researchers has shown that vaping actually leads to an increased chance of cigarette smoking.
Is Vaping Healthier than Smoking Cigarettes?
The short answer is: Yes, probably. There actually hasn’t been enough time to study the long-term effects of vaping, but generally speaking it is considered to be safer than smoking cigarettes. However, do not misinterpret “healthier” or “safer” as “healthy” or “safe.”
Cigarette smoke has over 7,000 different chemicals in it. Over 90 of these chemicals are considered harmful by the FDA. In comparison, e-cigarette vapor has far fewer chemicals, and is therefore likely safer in the long run. While vaping may be better for you than smoking, doing neither is the best for you.
Harmful Effects of Vaping: Toxic Ingredients
E-cigarette vapor may not have over 90 harmful chemicals in it, but that doesn’t mean all of the ingredients are safe. While it is possible to get nicotine-free juice, the majority of juice pods contain the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Aside from the addictive qualities of nicotine, it also causes damage to adolescent brains — which are not fully grown until around 25 years of age.
But what about if you are over the age of 25 and are not worried about being addicted to nicotine? E-cigarettes also include heavy metals such as nickel and lead. Heavy metals are toxic materials and can cause a wide variety of serious symptoms affecting your brain, heart, and lungs. Some e-cigarette users suddenly begin to have seizures, which can be caused by heavy metal poisoning.
Just because vaping is not linked to cancer (yet, studies are looking into this) doesn’t mean it is safe.
Harmful Effects of Vaping: Severe Injuries
Besides the issues resulting from nicotine addiction and heavy metal poisoning, there are other injuries one might sustain from vaping. Lung infections such as pneumonia are particularly common. This can be life threatening if not treated in a timely fashion.
However, what may be more serious are burnt lungs. Some e-cigarette smokers have been admitted to hospitals with injuries consistent with someone who has been in a house fire or inhaled industrial smoke — not even cigarette users have these sorts of injuries. The cause of this could be connected to the temperature of the inhaled vapor. 390 F and above is common, which is even hotter than the default temperature of most residential ovens. Imagine the inside of your lungs being coated in a liquid of that temperature.
Vape Product Liability
Luckily, if you are injured due to an e-cigarette or other vaping device, you may be able to receive compensation through a product liability suit. E-cigarette and juice manufacturers may be held liable for a variety of reasons such as failure to warn users of potential risks, failure to instruct consumers how to properly use the products, defective product designs, or defective product manufacturing.
A claim involving the chemicals found within the juice may be considered a failure to warn claim, while a claim involving an exploding device could be either a defective design or manufacturing claim.
Donaghue & Labrum Product Liability Attorneys
If you do not already vape or smoke, it is highly recommended that you do not start. If you already smoke, vaping may be a slightly safer alternative. But, this does not mean vaping is without its dangers. If you have been injured by an e-cigarette product, contact the personal injury attorneys of Donaghue & Labrum today. We will use our extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania injury law to get you the compensation you deserve under the law.