E-cigarettes, also known as “vapes,” are a booming industry. Advocates say they are safer than traditional cigarettes and help people quit smoking. However, researchers at Harvard warn that most e-juices contain toxic flavor chemicals linked to lung diseases like “Popcorn Lung.”
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting e-cigarette induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with a lung disease, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
UPDATE: FDA Will Regulate E-Cigarettes
May 5, 2016 — In a move sure to upend the e-cigarette industry, the FDA has announced sweeping new authority to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors and require expensive approval applications. Click here to read more.
January 8, 2016 — The CDC is warning that advertisements for e-cigarettes are reaching an unprecedented number of teenagers as use among high schoolers and middle schoolers skyrockets. Click here to read more.
January 4, 2016 — Vaping liquids in e-cigarettes can harm epithelial cells and damage DNA in a way that might lead to cancer, according to a new study. Click here to read more.
December 11, 2015 — Cuttwood, LLC has been hit with a class action lawsuit (PDF) accusing them of selling e-cigarette liquids that contain flavor chemicals linked to severe lung disease. Click here to read more.
December 9, 2015 — Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health tested 51 flavored e-cigarettes and found that 76% contained diacetyl, a flavoring chemical that has been linked to chronic lung disease. Click here to read more.
December 18, 2014 — In Fort Plain, New York, the tragic death of a 1 year-old boy has been blamed on accidental poisoning from liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes. Click here to read more.
July 8, 2014 — Swiss Re Ltd., an insurance liability risk-assessment group, has issued a report (PDF) warning that electronic cigarettes could trigger liability claims similar to tobacco litigation. The group warned that the long-term health effects of smoking e-cigarettes are unknown. Click here to read more.
May 5, 2014 — New York Times has reviewed studies finding formaldehyde in e-cigarettes that use tank systems, in which users “drip” e-liquid directly onto a heating element to produce large amounts of vapor. Click here to read more.
What is an Electronic Cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes are a revolutionary smoking device. Instead of combusting tobacco using a flame, e-cigarettes use a battery-powered heating element to vaporize liquid nicotine (or “e-juice”).
The first e-cigarettes were introduced in the early 2000s and mimicked the appearance of traditional cigarettes. In 2007, e-cigarettes hit mainstream with new designs, high-capacity batteries, and refillable liquid cartridges in dozens of flavors.
Flavoring in E-Cigarettes Linked to Lung Disease
The artificial flavoring diacetyl, which has been linked to a chronic respiratory illness known as “Popcorn Lung,” was found in 39 out of 51 (76%) flavored e-cigarette products analyzed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Diacetyl was found in concentrations up to 239 μg/e-cigarette. The chemical is commonly used in e-cigarette flavors like fruit, candy, and alcohol, which the researchers warned could especially appeal to youth. Researchers also identified two other “high-risk” flavorings linked to lung disease — 46 flavored e-cigarettes contained acetoin (up to 529 μg/e-cigarette) and 23 contained 2,3-pentanedione (up to 64 μg/e-cigarette).
E-Cigarette Side Effects
- Popcorn Lung
- Bronchiolitis obliterans
- Fixed airway obstruction
- Chronic bronchitis
- Diseases of the small airway
- Breathing problems
- And more
Diacetyl and “Popcorn Lung”
Diacetyl is used in many artificial flavorings, including butter flavors in microwave popcorn. In 2004, several workers at a Missouri popcorn plant were diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, a chronic lung disease also known as Popcorn Lung. In September 2012, a jury awarded $7.2 million to a man from Colorado who developed the disease after eating two bags of microwave popcorn every day for 10 years.
What is Popcorn Lung?
Popcorn Lung is an incurable lung disease that occurs when tiny air sacs inside the lungs are permanently scarred, which makes it hard to breathe. Symptoms may include:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Narrowing of the airways
- Scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs
E-Cigarettes and Children
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that the number of American children (middle-schoolers in grades 6-8) who have ever tried e-cigarettes doubled from 2011 to 2012, from 3.3% to 6.8%.
Many critics of e-cigarettes fear that they are a “path to addiction” for the next generation, with appealing flavors like bubble gum, cola, cherry, and chocolate. According to the CDC:
“This is a serious concern because the overall impact of e-cigarette use on public health remains uncertain. In youths, concerns include the potential negative impact of nicotine on adolescent brain development, as well as the risk for nicotine addiction and initiation of the use of conventional cigarettes or other tobacco products.”
Do E-Cigarettes Contain Toxic Ingredients?
Proponents of e-cigarettes say they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes because they contain fewer toxic chemicals. However, you might be surprised at what has been found in “e-juice.” In 2009, the FDA published an analysis of 18 samples of NJOY and Smoking Everywhere in various flavors and strengths, and found:
- One cartridge contained diethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze that is toxic to humans.
- Half of the samples contained tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are human carcinogens.
- Most samples contained anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine — tobacco-specific impurities that are suspected of being harmful to humans.
- All but one cartridge labeled as “no nicotine” actually had low levels of nicotine.
- Three different electronic cigarette cartridges with the same label were tested and each cartridge emitted a markedly different amount of nicotine with each puff. The nicotine levels per puff ranged from 26.8-43.2 mcg of nicotine per 100 mL puff.
- One high-nicotine cartridge delivered twice as much nicotine to users when the vapor from that electronic cigarette brand was inhaled than was delivered by a sample of the nicotine inhalation product (used as a control) approved by FDA for use as a smoking cessation aid.
E-Cigarette Class Action Lawsuit Information
In February 2014, Courthouse News reported that a class action lawsuit was filed against NJOY, one of the biggest manufacturers of e-cigarettes. The plaintiff, Eric McGovern, accused NJOY of using deceptive marketing practices to promote e-cigarettes as a smoking-cessation aid that is safer than traditional cigarettes.
If you were diagnosed with a lung disease after smoking e-cigarettes, you are not alone. However, our attorneys are not filing a class action lawsuit. Instead, we are filing individual lawsuits on behalf of people who were injured by these products.
Do I have an E-Cigarette Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting e-cigarette induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or a loved one has been injured, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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