We are learning more about the health hazards of vaping. Unfortunately, there are many and they are serious. The Louisiana Department of Health reported that as of Dec. 13, 2019 there were 33 cases of e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury (EVALI) associated with e-cigarette use. These incidents were reported to Louisiana health officials between August and December of 2019 from throughout the state with the ages ranging from 17-71. Because of patient privacy laws, the state cannot provide any information that might identify patients so we don’t know how many cases were reported here in Lafayette and Southwest Louisiana.
The incidence of lung illnesses caused by vaping is of great concern to the personal injury team at Joseph Joy and Associates based in Lafayette. We should all take this health threat seriously as it could pose a public health hazard as big as tobacco. The Center for Disease Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of EVALI associated with e-cigarette product use in the form of devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges.
If you are not familiar with vaping and e-cigarettes, here are some facts from the Louisiana Dept. of Health:
E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid.E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.
E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).”
The agency is strongly advising that E-cigarette products should not be bought off the street and should not be modified or have substances not intended for use by the manufacturer added. Youth, young adults and pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products, should not use e-cigarettes. Monitor for symptoms of severe side effects if you do use e-cigarettes. If you do develop symptoms, seek medical attention. These symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, weight loss
If you have had respiratory issues from the use of e-cigarettes, it’s important to see a doctor and stop vaping and smoking. If you have used e-cigarettes and have been diagnosed with respiratory disease, you may have a legal claim against the manufacturer of the vaping product which caused your illness. Potential harmful effects of vaping include COPD, popcorn lung, collapsed lung, acute respiratory failure, asthma, lung damage, seizure, stroke, and heart attack.
A three-year study of the effects of vaping on the lungs was published recently in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. This research is the first longitudinal study to be completed on vaping, meaning that the study collected data over a long enough period of time to observe the relationship between vaping and lung disease.
The study found a link between e-cigarette use and chronic lung disease in a population of 32,320 adults in the United States. The data was collected from 2013-2016. It looked at whether subjects had used e-cigarettes, smoked conventional cigarettes, or used other types of combustible tobacco, and whether they had been told by a health professional that they were afflicted with lung or other respiratory conditions.
The data found a significant association between former and current e-cigarette use, and the risk of developing respiratory disease. Additionally, the study confirmed a previously known, but separate association between conventional smoking and respiratory disease. These associations are independent of each other, and as a result the study found that those who had used both e-cigarettes as well as other forms of combustible tobacco were at a much higher increased risk of developing respiratory disease than those who used either.
The wave of vaping litigation is just beginning and the lawyers at Joseph Joy and Associates believe it is going to be big. The New York Times has recorded 2,291 vaping lawsuits to date, and that number is increasing every day. Cases are founded on the risks of vaping having been misrepresented by vaping and prominent tobacco companies. Our lawyers feel strongly that E-cigarette maker Juul has significant legal liability exposure. Juul markets a nicotine-vaping device and is one of the largest in the country. Many lawsuits filed already are seeking damages for its products’ addictive properties and health hazards posed by the inhalants.
The manufacturers are also potentially to blame for fraudulent marketing. Juul and others have profited from the claim that the e-cigarettes help smokers quit. But just the opposite is true. Juul products deliver higher level of nicotine than cigarettes.
There are possible defective product claims too. One report found an estimated 2,035 instances of burn and explosion injuries from the batteries within e-cigarette and vaping devices from 2015 to 2017.
If the above doesn’t worry you, how about this: The New York Times also reported that vaping among teens is soaring. The article cited a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, of eighth, 10th and 12th graders which revealed “sharp increases in marijuana vaping. Of 12th graders surveyed, 14 percent said they had vaped marijuana in the last month, nearly double the 7.5 percent reported a year ago.” According to that study, One in four 12th graders say they vaped nicotine in the past month, along with one in 5 10th graders, and nearly one in 10 eighth graders. Many teens say they vape for the flavor, to experiment, for social reasons, or to feel good. However, from 2018-2019, the number of 12th graders saying they vape because they are “hooked” more than doubled to 8.1%, up from 3.6%. It is important to note that not all teens know what is in the products they are vaping.
It is our hope that vaping does not explode into a public health crisis. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or developed lung disease due to the use of e-cigarettes or vaping, it’s important to find representation you can trust. The attorneys at Joseph Joy and Associates, are highly experienced in medical litigation. We have years of experience handling cases involving serious medical illnesses including malpractice. If you believe you have a vaping-related claim, call (337)-232-8123 to schedule your first meeting.