Since their introduction in the United States in 2006, vape devices and e-cigarettes have been largely marketed as safer alternatives to cigarette smoking. But according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, three recent hospitalizations for serious lung disease may be calling the devices’ safety into question. Below, we’ll tell you more about the serious product safety concerns these cases and others across the country are raising, and what to do if you have been harmed by a vape device.
Severe Lung Disease May be Related to Vaping
During the month of July, three North Carolina residents, all of whom used vaping devices or e-cigarettes, were hospitalized with severe lung disease. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the victims reported a variety of symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, cough, and nausea and vomiting. In addition, some of the patients were admitted to the intensive care unit because they required breathing assistance.
The three North Carolina cases are part of a growing trend of hospitalizations among vape device users across the U.S. One CDC report states that since the end of June, 94 people across the country have experienced severe lung disease that may be connected to e-cigarette use. Subsequent reports have shown even higher numbers. New York, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have all reported vape-related illnesses, while California and Indiana have begun investigations. The CDC says the illnesses mostly affected adolescents, as well as some adults. The illnesses do not appear to be related to infectious disease.
While North Carolina health officials have not yet definitively connected vaping to lung disease, they are currently investigating the three cases in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and North Carolina Poison Control. No specific brands have yet been connected to the illnesses.
The Serious Dangers of E-Cigarettes
While electronic cigarettes have long been marketed as less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, in recent years health officials have raised several concerns about the products, especially when it comes to adolescents using them. The issue most frequently discussed is that the liquid used in the devices contains nicotine, an addictive chemical that adversely affects brain development in young people. For years, studies have linked the nicotine found in e-cigarettes to cardiovascular damage and heightened risk of heart attack, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
What is often overlooked when discussing product safety, however, is the fact that vaping products contain several additional harmful substances. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, chemicals used to create flavored products have been linked to lung disease.
In addition, vape devices work by heating nicotine to create an inhalable aerosol. Once inhaled, the small particles can deeply penetrate the lungs and cause irritation. Vape products have also been shown to contain heavy metals including lead, as well as volatile organic compounds that can combust and cause serious injuries and disfigurement.
Additionally, an analysis that appeared in the journal Tobacco Control estimates that from 2015-2017, over 2035 injured patients visited U.S. emergency rooms due to injuries from e-cigarette burns or explosions. Chemical burns, facial wounds, and hand injuries are all common after batteries explode. In addition, over 100 reports of vaping-related seizures have been reported to the FDA since 2010.
Needless to say, investigations into the safety of these products are a step in the right direction. If you or your children use vape products, we encourage you to learn as much as you can about the safety of these products and to consider discontinuing use.
If you have been injured due to vaping or c-cigarette use, it is in your best interest to contact a vape injury lawyer today. The team at Paynter Law is here to help. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.