Lawsuits Follow Wave of Vaping-Related Lung Disease and Fatalities
Simmons Hanly Conroy’s complex litigation team investigating vaping-related claims
In less than one year’s time, nearly 3,000 thousand people across all 50 states have fallen victim to vaping related lung-disease. More than 65 people have died in the outbreak so far, and the death toll is only expected to climb as physicians become more adept at recognizing vaping-related lung disease.
While the exact cause of the disease is not yet fully understood, one thing is for sure: Not a single person who has been injured or killed was ever warned about the danger posed by electronic-cigarette products.
Now that the dangers of vaping are sharpening into focus, individuals, parents, school systems and states have filed lawsuits against the e-cigarette manufacturers who have made billions of dollars by misrepresenting the safety of their addictive products.
E-Cigarettes with Unknown Risks Marketed to Minors
Instead of researching the potential health effects of their products, companies like Juul spent millions of dollars misrepresenting their devices as a “safe alternatives” to traditional, combustible cigarettes. Juul pods deliver unprecedented levels of nicotine to users, yet the company downplayed the addictive nature of their products and made no mention of the carcinogens and respiratory irritants found in e-cigarette vapor.
During this deceptive marketing push, a Congressional investigation found Juul had deliberately and illegally marketed e-cigarettes to minors. Along with colorful advertising and kid-friendly flavors, Juul used social media influencers and events to attract young users.
The company’s misleading campaign paid off and its profits soared, capturing more than 75 percent of the market within 4 years. Juul has made a fortune, but at great cost to the public health.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), teen vaping has doubled since 2017. Many of these underage users will now struggle with a lifetime of nicotine addiction. Some may never see old age—of those affected by the current outbreak of vaping lung disease, 80 percent are under 35-years-old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
E-Cigarette Injuries and Health Effects
Nicotine is extremely addictive, and little is known about the long-term effects of exposure to the toxic substances in e-cigarettes, e-juice and flavoring chemicals. While many products are already available on the market, researchers and public health officials have only begun to evaluate the health risks.
E-cigarette use has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, COPD and now lung cancer, according to a study published this month from New York University. Juul and others have decried the warnings from researchers as overblown, even as the number of people getting sick and dying from vaping has increased.
Injuries reported by e-cigarette users include:
- impaired lung function
- respiratory failure
- heart attack
- pregnancy complications
- birth injury
- nicotine poisoning
- severe addiction
- behavioral issues
- mental health issues
- suicidal thoughts
Looking at the labeling, e-cigarette users have no way of knowing these injuries are possible. Research suggests that many underage users are not even aware that e-cigarettes have nicotine in them. The ambiguity created by marketing e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking has encouraged millions of people to try a product that could hurt or kill them.
Federal regulators have promised to monitor the outbreak of severe lung disease associated with vaping, and the Trump administration has said a nationwide ban of e-cigarette flavors will soon go into effect. Some states and cities have imposed their own prohibitions on e-cigarettes and the sale of flavored products.
Other communities and individuals have filed lawsuits in order to bring companies like Juul to justice. No parent should witness their teen’s lungs turned into those of a 70-year-old. No school district should have to reckon with an unprecedented wave of nicotine addiction among middle- and high-schoolers.
If you or someone you care about has been vaping, it’s important to know about the risks of vaping. Vaping-related injuries may be costly and life-long. If you or someone you love has been injured by vaping, we may be able to help. Our vaping attorneys are currently investigating claims involving injuries caused by vaping. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights.