Smoking electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), also called “vaping,” quickly gained popularity in the United States with little known about the health or safety risks associated with this practice. Vaping became especially popular among teenagers, and flavored e-cigarette cartridges or vape pods became commonplace, a pleasant scent masking a potentially deadly practice.
Very little was known about the side effects of vaping when these e-cigarettes hit the market a few years ago. This lack of knowledge is partially due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extending its timeline for important information on the health risks of smoking e-cigarettes.
After it was decided in 2016 that the FDA could regulate electronic cigarettes, a two-year deadline was imposed on companies to provide important health and safety data on the implications and side effects that could occur. However, the FDA extended this initial deadline from 2016 to 2022, allowing consumers to purchase and smoke e-cigarettes for years without having any crucial health data regarding the negative health effects of e-cigarettes.
Now, a public health crisis has arisen among individuals who vape. Even users with no underlying medical conditions have suddenly been hospitalized with severe and life-threatening damage to their lungs. As a result, medical professional are searching for answers. The use of e-cigarettes was marketed to consumers as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes.
However, it appears that e-cigarette cartridge or vape pod manufacturers, such as Juul, were advertising this without any sufficient testing on their own products to support these claims. Additionally, the FDA has not approved any use of e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking or as a smoking cessation aid.
One common thread that health officials have discovered linking some of these lung injuries to vaping is Vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate has been discovered in some marijuana vaping pods, and is an oil found in a variety of foods, such as seeds, nuts and leafy green vegetables. While it can provide health benefits when consumed, Vitamin E acetate is a thick, grease-like substance that can be turned into a vapor and inhaled when it is heated to extreme temperatures.
When someone inhales this vapor, it can then cool in the lungs, and return to its natural grease-like state. Human lungs are not equipped to remove contaminants such as Vitamin E acetate oil efficiently and, as a result, an oil solidifying in the lungs can cause immediate, severe and life-threatening injuries.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to produce items that are safe for consumers to use. If consumers suffer injury or damages as a result of a dangerous or defective product, the manufacturers should be held liable to provide compensation.