Vaping Illness Spreads Throughout U.S.: What You Need to Know
E-cigarettes, JUULs, and other vaping devices are receiving much attention nowadays, and with good reason. The harmful devices have been found to cause illnesses as of late, and local, state, and national policies are aiming to protect the public from these vaping-related illnesses.
What’s worse is that some companies are alleged to have used potentially deceptive and ill-willed advertising methods to target the youth, who don’t know any better than to try e-cigs. But dangers abound. The vaping illness attorney from Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys is here with the facts.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping via e-cigs and other devices is similar to smoking cigarettes, but there are a few different elements involved. First, vaping involves a non-combustible product. This means that instead of any flame being involved, the substance (usually liquid nicotine or sometimes cannabis oil) is vaporized into an aerosol. The aerosol is then inhaled into the lungs, where the body can be irritated and harmed from the inside.
Additionally, vaping devices are purported to be a healthier alternative to smoking, but the research data shows mixed results. While it may be true that some e-cigs present a lesser degree of harm than traditional cigarettes, they are not harmless.
Also, some studies have shown that instead of quitting traditional cigarettes as a result of e-cig usage, many people will continue to smoke cigarettes and vape e-cigs concurrently. In fact, e-cigs may be even more addictive than traditional cigarettes.
This is catastrophic for those who believe that vaping is harmless or who don’t know about the dangerous ingredients in the e-cig liquids. But e-cigs can contain far more harmful ingredients than just mere nicotine, including cadmium, nickel, tin, lead, and propylene glycol.
Recent news has shown that some black-market cannabis oil cartridges were adulterated with vitamin E acetate, a substance that is toxic when brought to and inhaled at the temperature of vaporization. This has led to a disastrous outbreak of “vaping illness,” wherein such patients must be hospitalized and receive supplemental oxygenation to survive.
Advertising and Popularity
E-cigarette and vaping device usage has increased within the past few years. In 2018, 20.8% (3.05 million) of high school students used e-cig devices, and 4.9% (570,000) of middle school students used e-cig devices. Compare this to 2011 numbers, where the percentage of high school and middle school student e-cig usage was well under 5%. Furthermore, from 2017 to 2018, e-cig usage increased 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students.
Those against e-cigs claim the increased popularity is because of appealing flavors that cloud the taste and smell of traditional cigarettes. For instance, e-cig companies such as JUUL tout that they have various flavors to offer such as mango, mint, menthol, creme, fruit, and others that appeal to both adults and youth, which makes the burden of nicotine addiction quite easy to succumb to for those who aren’t already addicted.
Additionally, ease of use is a sought-after feature in e-cig devices, and e-cig companies aren’t afraid to demonstrate their prowess in this regard. Some devices are easily concealable and resemble a flash drive.
This makes the device easily portable and hardly noticeable. More specifically, the emitted vapor is also often colorless and odorless, so people don’t need to worry about being conspicuous or getting caught in a classroom.
Ultimately, many things about e-cigarettes are designed to make them the convenient, go-to method for smoking cessation. However, the FDA does not endorse e-cigs as an official method for quitting smoking, and since 2016, e-cigs have been included in the list of regulated tobacco products.
What Are the Harmful Effects?
Let’s begin with nicotine. According to one study, nicotine is shown to be quite harmful, and the conclusion reached was that nicotine requires regulation:
There is an increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, [and] gastrointestinal disorders. There is decreased immune response[,] and it also poses ill impacts on the reproductive health. It affects the cell proliferation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, [and] DNA mutation by various mechanisms[,] which leads to cancer. It also affects the tumor proliferation and metastasis and causes resistance to chemo and radio therapeutic agents.(Mishra et al.)
Other data and studies concur with these remarks. Nicotine can lead to insulin resistance, thereby contributing to heart disease and diabetes. Also, if you already have diabetes, nicotine can lead to extreme low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), a serious medical condition.
Nicotine also has deleterious effects on areas of the brain associated with memory, learning, and attention span. Heavy e-cig usage can lead to anxiety, lasting negative effects on impulse control, and an increased risk of psychiatric disorder and cognitive impairment.
This is awful news when considering the fact that the brain doesn’t stop developing until around age 25 and that the amount of youths and adolescents using e-cigs is on the rise. But it gets worse: In some cases, nicotine has even been linked to seizures and coma.
But remember, e-cigs don’t contain just nicotine. There are plenty of other toxic materials just waiting to wreak havoc in the body. While e-cigs are currently under FDA regulation, monitoring ingredients in e-cig juices has been shoddy at best and nonexistent at worst.
There are still many ingredients left unknown in e-cig juices, but here are some of those that we know are extant:
- Benzoic acid
- Propylene glycol
- And more . . .
Exposure to any of these chemicals/compounds via e-cigs is a good way to make sure you stay unhealthy. What’s even worse is that JUUL and other companies advertise their products in a manner that overlooks potential harms. For instance, here’s what JUUL has to say about propylene glycol and glycerine:
Propylene glycol and glycerine are clear liquids that are used to create a visible vapor, and are commonly used by the medical, beauty and food industries. A majority, if not all e-liquids, contain propylene glycol (PG).(JUUL Labs)
What they neglect to mention is that while propylene glycol is deemed safe by the FDA when used as intended, inhalation of propylene glycol for as little as one minute can cause respiratory irritation. As for glycerine inhalation, dry cough, irritation of the mouth, and irritation of the throat are common possibilities.
Vaping Illness on the Rise
A new illness is on the rise related to e-cig usage. The CDC and other authorities still do not know the precise cause of the outbreak, deemed “vape lung,” though vitamin E acetate seems to be a likely culprit.
Worth noting, however, is that the illness is disproportionately widespread among those who used THC products or THC and nicotine e-cigs concurrently, as opposed to those who only used nicotine e-cigs.
Even so, no single element has conclusively linked all the cases together. Because of this, the CDC cautions everyone against e-cig usage and urges those who are willing and able to stop completely.
As of this writing, there have been a total of 805 documented cases of vaping illness across 46 U.S. states and 1 U.S. territory. There have already been 12 deaths from the illness.
The CDC has issued recommendations to healthcare providers, namely to ask about patients’ vaping history and signs of cardiovascular, neurological, and other problems related to e-cig use.
Remember, vaping illness is avoidable. If you are worried about the negative effects of e-cigs, simply don’t use them. If you are addicted to nicotine/tobacco products, choose another, less harmful method of nicotine delivery such as gum or patches until you wean yourself off, for good.
Local, state, national, and even international government entities have taken legislative steps at preventing the spread of vaping illness. For instance, the entire country of India banned all e-cigs with the aim of protecting public health. Similarly, in Cambodia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore,Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and other places in Asia, e-cig usage is banned. Punishment can be severe, with up to 10 years in prison in Thailand, for example.
As for states in the U.S., California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island have all issued limitations/bans on e-cigs and similar products. Such restrictions include raising the legal age for e-cig use from 18 to 21, or banning certain flavors of e-cig juices.
The FDA plans on banning flavored e-cigs, per request of the Trump administration, at least until the FDA can review the safety and efficacy of e-cig products. So far, though, action has only been taken at the state and local levels, and e-cigs have yet to be proven as an effective method for quitting cigarettes.
How Can a Vaping Illness Attorney Help?
Vape lung is a serious condition that can cause life-changing debilitation and even death. When many people used e-cig products, they may not have known the risks involved. Furthermore, because of e-cig companies’ shady advertising methods, some people may even have thought that e-cigs aren’t harmful at all.
If you believe you were taken advantage of and obtained an injury from e-cig products, a vaping-illness attorney can evaluate your claim to help determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. Here are some things to keep in mind, and don’t forget to check out the below infographic to recap all you’ve learned:
- Gather Evidence—Our legal team is experienced when it comes to building personal injury cases from the ground up. Companies such as JUUL shouldn’t get away with the harm they’ve allowed to happen to innocents who didn’t know any better. We’ll build evidence and craft an impenetrable case against the entities responsible.
- Fight Aggressively—While our lawyers are compassionate, we are also merciless. Our team will relentlessly pursue your just compensation, day and night, with zeal and ardor. You can be sure we will do everything in our power to win your compensation.
- Represent You—Whether in or out of the courtroom, we will be there for you. We are always happy to give you counsel and advice, as well as sound representation during your personal injury case.
- Ease Your Stress—Vape lung is a serious condition that requires much time and rest to recover from. You shouldn’t have to worry about your legal battles while fighting an illness. Let our team handle your legal concerns while you focus on recuperating.
Need Help From a Vaping Illness Attorney?
If you need help from a vaping illness attorney, contact Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys. Our 24/7 injury attorneys are always available to address your questions and concerns. Call us any time of the day or night at (504) 345-1111. Alternatively, you can reach us on the web via our LiveChat feature or online contact form . Consultations are free, and we don’t collect anything until we win your case. So don’t wait; contact us today!
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.