Smoking is bad for your health. We all know that in 2019. What may have been deemed a “healthy” endeavor up to the 1960s is now universally acknowledged to be bad for us (and those around the “second hand” smoke).
But what about the seemingly healthier alternative of vaping or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)?
As of this writing, six people have died in the United States directly as a result of vaping.
Further, nearly five hundred have become ill from vaping.
There has been a steady stream of mostly teen users winding up gravely ill, with what may be permanent lung damage. However, until very recently, doctors were unsure what the exact cause of these illnesses, believed tied to use of electronic cigarettes or vaping, were.
Now, they seem to be honing in on at least one of the chemicals used in these products—vitamin E acetate—which, it turns out, is harmful if inhaled.
Another Chicago Tribune story highlights the severe lung illness suffered by Adam Hergenreder, of Gurnee. The 18-year-old was told by doctors that his lungs look like a person in his 70s and that some of the damage may be permanent.
Hard as it may be to believe, cigarettes were once considered healthy, or at the very least, not harmful (professional athletes used to regularly endorse cigarettes!). Now, we now know the tobacco industry actively covered up information, rigged scientific studies, filled their products with addictive chemicals, and basically caused several generations to get hooked on their products and shorten their lives.
I hasten to add that all this information became publicly known due to the diligent work of trial lawyers willing to risk money and time to pursue tobacco companies.
Today, we have makers of electronic cigarettes, like Juul, placing full-page ads in newspapers about their wonderful attempts at limiting young peoples’ ability to access their products and providing assistance with vaping and smoking cessation plans.
Well, that sounds great, but we remember some of the things Big Tobacco did as the end drew near, and these efforts look remarkably familiar.
With electronic vaping products, we now know that the chemicals that cause the product to work are deliberately addictive — and that is in addition to the nicotine already in there! We know the sweet flavors appeal to younger smokers in particular. We know the products are packed with chemicals that are known to be harmful.
So the central question in the “coming soon” e-cigarette litigation will be, “When did the industry manufacturers know all this?”
It appears they might just get burned in the end.
The Federal government is finally taking some action. The Centers for Disease Control is assisting state government entities in investigating these deaths and illnesses. The CDC also has advised those who have concerns not to use the products.
The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has had jurisdiction over e-cigarettes for three years, but has yet to come to any conclusion that the products are safe or whether they help people quit smoking cigarettes.
However, on September 9, the FDA warned e-cigarette maker Juul Labs about illegally marketing e-cigarettes as an alternative to cigarettes. Juul has 15 days to respond with corrective actions and a compliance plan.
Then, on September 11, the Trump Administration announced that the FDA is proposing a new enforcement policy that would require companies that make flavored e-cigarettes to take the products off the market. The final guidance will be released in a few weeks and likely take effect in 30 days.
State and municipal entities are moving to ban sales of these products. Michigan has officially banned all flavored e-cigarettes as of this week (9/2/19), becoming the first state to do so.
If you are a parent of a young adult or teen who vapes, you should be very concerned. There is not a great deal of data out there on e-cigarettes, but what we do have and know as of this writing would seem to be overwhelmingly against the safety of these products. When people die from using a product as directed, it stands to reason it is patently unsafe.
Scientists do not know if it is safer to vape than smoke cigarettes, but many believe it is not safe to use either product at this time.
For now, it is caveat emptor (buyer beware).
I’ll close with the great Rex Hubbke, who tweeted recently, “Who would’ve ever thought inhaling a cloud of chemicals from an over-glorified thumb drive might be dangerous?”
As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, if you have been hit by a vehicle immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.