E-cigs and Illness: How Vaping Can Harm You

e-cigarette injury attorney

With the rise of the new vaping illness, dubbed E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use Associated Lung Injury (EVALI), public concern is increasing, and so are legislative policies. And this isn’t surprising, by any means. Vaping-related injuries have contributed to at least 26 deaths across 21 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, there have been at least 1,299 documented cases of lung injury. And that’s just in the U.S. and its territories. But don’t fall into despair. Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys is here to help keep you informed about current e-cigs and vaping updates. 

What Is Vaping?

Vaping involves the use of a “vape” or an e-cigarette device that creates an aerosol. A person can vape with a variety of different devices. Some devices involve tanks, some have many different buttons and temperature settings, and some are simpler and easier to use, e.g. the JUUL. 

E-cigarette companies often claim their devices are a healthier alternative to smoking, but the FDA does not endorse e-cigarettes or vaping devices as aids to quit smoking. 

As one study states, “Although some data demonstrate that electronic cigarettes may be effective in reducing conventional cigarette consumption, there are no data demonstrating the efficacy of electronic cigarettes as a tool to achieve cessation” (Drummond and Upson). And, in fact, vaping can cause serious harm to the user, with EVALI as just one of many severe complications.

What Are the Ingredients?

Vape and e-cigarette devices operate with a liquid formula as their base that more often than not contains nicotine. While nicotine is the primary ingredient in many formulas, there are plenty of other harmful ingredients. Here are just a few to keep in mind:

  • Heavy Metals—Known carcinogenic metals such as chromium, lead, and nickel are found not only in some e-cig/vaping devices but also in the aerosol the devices create.
  • Propylene Glycol—Some individuals can experience throat and eye irritation as a result of this chemical exposure. 
  • Glycerine—This compound is known to be potentially toxic to the body’s cells when inhaled.
  • Benzoic Acid—A chemical used to enhance the potency of nicotine, benzoic acid can cause nausea, vomiting, coughing, sore throat, and abdominal pain.
  • Acrolein—A potent weedkiller, this chemical has been known to cause extensive DNA damage, COPD, and can contribute to lung cancer and asthma.
  • Formaldehyde—A potent preservative and disinfectant yet also a known human carcinogen, formaldehyde can be present in some e-cig cartridges/liquids.
  • Other Ingredients—The list could go on. E-cigs have the potential to contain other known irritating or otherwise harmful ingredients, such as diacetyl, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, vanillin, pulegone, citral, and more.

What Are the Potential Health Risks?

Many e-cig and vape companies tout that their devices are safer than traditional cigarettes. However, the current data isn’t conclusive on that, and even if they were safer, they are still quite harmful. Let’s take a look at all the harms vaping can do to the body.

Let’s begin with nicotine, the main ingredient in most e-cig liquids. According to one comprehensive scientific review, nicotine is quite harmful and needs to be regulated:

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. . . . The use of nicotine needs regulation. The sale of nicotine should be under supervision of trained medical personnel. . . . Nicotine is well known to have serious systemic side effects in addition to being highly addictive. . . . Many studies have consistently demonstrated its carcinogenic potential. . . . The only other known use of nicotine has been as an insecticide since [the]17th century.

(Mishra et al.)

Nicotine is also linked to convulsions, seizure, and brain injury. But that’s just the beginning. Remember, e-cigs and other vape devices have other ingredients besides just nicotine. Here are some other ways e-cig and vape devices can be harmful to you:

  • Increased risk of stroke and heart disease
  • Association with gum disease and cavity formation
  • Permanent brain development issues
  • Risk of burn injury, both inside and outside the body, from device combustion
  • And more . . .

Additionally, some e-cig or vape devices use THC/CBD oil rather than nicotine as their main ingredient. Some negative effects of vaping marijuana include:

  • Impaired memory
  • Undesirable mood alteration
  • Hindered coordination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulties with problem solving and learning
  • Fatigue
  • Heightened irritability
  • Irregular heart beat

Long-term marijuana use can cause lower dopamine release, which can contribute to depression and other mental health conditions. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms of marijuana use can include insomnia, anxiety, and loss of appetite.

What’s the Deal with JUUL?

JUUL Labs, an offshoot of PAX Labs, is an e-cigarette company known for its nicotine e-cigarette: the JUUL. The company is in hot water for its questionable marketing tactics and shady legal business regarding advertising to minors. While the company states it has never advertised to minors and never will, that remains to be seen in the courtroom.

Among other problems, JUUL is under scrutiny for failing to warn of the potential dangers of its product prior to November 2018. Now, of course, they are trying to put a bandage on the bullet wound. One action they’ve taken to ameliorate the situation is to remove all of their non-tobacco, non-menthol flavors from the market. However, one can see that, even on their own website, they still don’t advertise in an entirely transparent manner.

Here’s what JUUL has to say about benzoic acid, an ingredient in its pods:

Benzoic acid is a naturally occurring ingredient, found in tobacco and other substances. When combined with nicotine as part of our nicotine salts formulation, it helps provide cigarette-like satisfaction.

(JUUL Labs)

What JUUL fails to mention is that benzoic acid is a constituent of benzene, a chemical that can be formed by heating certain e-liquids and is a known human carcinogen that can cause acute non-lymphocytic leukemia.

Needless to say, the narrative is still unfolding. Recently, a Florida mother brought forth the first wrongful-death case against JUUL. JUUL is facing numerous lawsuits for negligence, failure to warn, negligent/fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of implied/express warranty, deceit by concealment, constructive fraud, and more. Additional lawsuits are developing every day and aren’t likely to die down until a settlement is reached.

How can a Vape Injury Attorney Help?

If you suffered an injury or became addicted to JUUL while underage and prior to November 2018, you may be eligible for compensation. But it can be difficult to pursue a lawsuit on your own. That’s why Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys is here at your side, ready to make the process easier. Here are just a few things we can do to help:

  • Gather Evidence—Our team will work hard to gather all the necessary documents and evidence. We will build a solid case against those responsible for your pain and suffering.
  • Represent You—Whether in or out of the courtroom, Lerner and Rowe has your back. We are always there for you where you need us, and we can provide sage advice and counsel.
  • Ease Your Stress—You should concentrate your efforts on recovering, not on your tough legal battles. Leave the legal worries to the professionals while you focus on resting and healing.

Need Help from a Vape Injury Attorney?

Contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys to be connected with an experienced vape injury attorney who can go over your individual circumstances with you. After an initial free case review, we’ll discuss whether or not you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries. 

Visit us during our office hours, which are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or call us anytime at 844-977-1900. You can also chat with us online or fill out a contact form. Consultations are free, and we don’t collect a penny until we win. So don’t wait; get in touch 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.