E-Cigarette Illnesses Raise Concerns About Safety

September 26, 2019


If you’ve been paying attention to the news as of late, you’ve likely heard about the growing safety concerns surrounding e-cigarettes. Numerous individuals, specifically teenagers, have fallen ill after using the popular electronic smoking device, thought to be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. All across the nation, people who use e-cigs are coming down with severe lung illness. And with this onset of mysterious illnesses, we are seeing a growing number of lawsuits claiming that e-cigs are causing seizures, lung disease, and even strokes.

E-cigarettes were first introduced [1] to the United States in August 2006 and slowly grew in popularity. Over the last decade or so, these electronic vaporizers have gone through many different modifications, all of which aimed to make them safer. However, as more and more people get sick as a result of vaping, we are wondering how serious the repercussions of e-cigs are. Earlier this year, the U.S. Surgeon General announced there is an “e-cigarette epidemic among youth”. Sadly, the majority of e-cig lawsuits that have been filed to date involve young adults or teens who were unaware of the potentially dangerous side effects of vaping. Then, in April 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started to investigate reports of people – mostly teenagers – having seizures as a result of vaping. Most of the lawsuits being filed surround nicotine, however, there are also concerns about the potential dangers of inhaling THC via electronic devices.

Since the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have become aware of these concerns, there have been 530 confirmed cases of lung injury [2] linked to vaping nicotine. Just last week there were 380 suspected cases, which shows just what a growing problem this is. In addition to these cases, seven people have died from e-cigarette usage. The attorneys at Shamieh Law are extremely concerned about the possibility of lung illness in individuals who are otherwise healthy. Because the majority of those getting sick is the youth, it is imperative we take action now. We are seeing large e-cig companies like JUUL Labs market to young individuals, making vaping look “cool”. Lung disease isn’t cool and it’s time to take action.

What Are E-Cigs? 

The first e-cigarette was developed by Joseph Robinson in 1927, but the FDA didn’t allow tobacco companies to move forward with these new devices until the 1990s. Vaping became popular throughout Europe, and in the 2000s, Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik made the first e-cigarette as we know it today. Lik was inspired to develop an alternative to traditional cigarettes after losing his father to lung cancer.

E-Cigs in the News 

Over the last several weeks, the CDC has tripled their investigative efforts, even calling into action their Emergency Operations Centers to determine if these mysterious lung illnesses are indeed linked to vaping. An FDA spokesperson said they “are in desperate need of facts” as more and more teens experience side effects from using e-cigs.

At the center of many of the e-cig lawsuits is JUUL Labs, a company that accounts for 75 percent of all electronic cigarette devices in the United States. Juul e-cigs are stylish and advertise to young people, making them even more dangerous. In addition to Juul, Altria-Philips Morris has also been named in the lawsuits, a tobacco company that makes Marbolo and purchased 35 percent of JUUL in 2018. Before we discuss some of the potential dangers of vaping, let’s look at e-cigs in the news:

  • North Carolina filed eight lawsuits against Big Tobacco for “unlawfully targeting children” with electronic cigarette devices [3]
  • Texas A&M student ends up in the ICU after using an electronic cigarette [4]
  • Walmart announces they will no longer sell e-cigarette devices [5]
  • Maine reports first lung illness case caused by e-cig use after an adult is admitted to the hospital with symptoms [6]

It is alarming that these large companies are preying on the youth of America. Many companies do not require age verification when selling these products, and the potentially dangerous side effects of using e-cigarettes are often covered up.

What Are the Symptoms of Lung Illness? 

According to the CDC, the following symptoms may be a sign of lung illness caused by using e-cigs:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain

The Dangers of Exploding E-Cig Batteries 

Lung illness is becoming a serious concern surrounding electronic cigarettes like JUUL, but that’s not the only potential danger. Over the last several years there have been multiple injuries across the country as a result of exploding e-cig batteries. We even told you about a Texas man who died after his e-cig device exploded, cutting a major artery in his neck. Unfortunately, most consumers are unaware of this risk. But thanks to investigative reports by NBC and countless lawsuits, the general public is finally learning about the possibility of e-cig batteries exploding.

At the center of the lawsuits are lithium-ion batteries [7], which are slightly larger than a AA battery. There are numerous reasons why these batteries can fail, including:

  • Overcharging
  • From heat or direct sunlight
  • Overuse
  • Replacing the battery
  • Making changes to the devices other components

In the event the battery overheats, it can cause a very fast chain of events, often ending in an explosion. If you have been injured by an e-cig that overheated or exploded for another reason, contact Shamieh Law today. We have had success bringing lawsuits against the manufacturers of these faulty components and are prepared to do the same for you.

File an E-Cig Lawsuit Today

Beyond announcements by the CDC and FDA, many states are taking things into their own hands.

Kentucky officials [8], for example, issued a release encouraging e-cig users and providers to proceed with caution and be on the lookout for symptoms of lung illness. State officials in Kentucky, Texas, and elsewhere throughout the nation have started investigating any potential cases of illness from vaping. Michigan [9] passed a flavored vaping ban in an effort to stop the vaping epidemic, and a Texas high school [10] is imploring parents to be on the lookout for vaping devices.

While e-cigs are thought to be a viable alternative to smoking analog cigarettes, the long-term side effects are unknown. Furthermore, many people – young and old alike – do not realize just how much they are smoking with these devices. One JUUL pod is equal to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, and some high schoolers have admitted to going through three pods a day. It is unclear as to what exact component of e-cigs is causing these illnesses, although there is widespread speculation that many of the ingredients used in the e-cig liquid should not be inhaled.

No matter how it gets into your system, nicotine is addictive and very harmful, especially for young adults. With this trend of high school and middle schoolers using vaping devices, we expect to see even more cases like those mentioned above. If you or your loved one has become ill after using an electronic smoking device, contact the personal injury lawyers at Shamieh Law. We are keeping a close eye on the lawsuits that are currently being filed and will continue to do so. Our product defect attorneys have your best interests in mind and are prepared to do everything we can to help you recover compensation for any damages. E-cigs like JUUL may look cool, but they are proving to be deadly. To learn more about filing an e-cig lawsuit in Dallas, Austin, or Lake Charles please contact Shamieh Law and schedule a free consultation.