Vaping has been at the receiving end of bad publicity recently. Whereas vaping was once touted as a safer alternative for those looking to kick smoking, it is now regarded as posing possibly even greater health risks.
The Center for Disease Control in the United States reports that, in 2019, there were nearly 50 vaping-related deaths and over 2,000 vaping injuries. In Canada, 15 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses have been reported.
What is vaping?
Have you seen someone enveloped in bellowing, thick white clouds of smoke? They are probably vaping. Vaping involves the inhalation of nicotine and other ingredients as aerosol vapour into the lungs. No wonder vaping products, or ‘vapes’ are called e-cigarettes.
A vaping product is the vaporiser itself: it has a battery, mouthpiece, heating element (atomiser), and a small vial which holds the vaping product.
Vaping substances are what fills the vial. Vaping substances are usually liquids, containing nicotine and other ingredients – such as flavouring and cannabis.
As the health risks of vaping have become increasingly clear and well-documented, the question has arisen: ‘Can I sue for my vaping injury?’ In fact, a lawsuit in British Columbia does just that: it claims damages for pulmonary disease caused by vape products manufactured by Juul, one of the world’s most popular vape products company.
In this article we will examine vaping, and we will attempt to help you understand if you can sue one or more companies for injuries caused due to vaping.
There have been nearly 50 deaths and more than 2,000 vaping injuries in the United States alone.
Vaping lawsuits do not have to be class action claims. Like any other product liability case, someone who has been injured due to a vape product can make a claim against the manufacturer of the device and liquid, the retailer, and even the promoter. Discuss your concerns with a smoking injury lawyer in Toronto.
Philip Morris, maker of the popular Marlboro brand of cigarettes has purchased a 35% stake in Juul, which controls over 70% of the vaping market.
What are the dangers of vaping?
Like any other form of smoking, vaping introduces high concentrations of chemicals into your lungs. Most people who vape experience:
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin
- Possible reduction in lung capacity
However, depending on the vaping substance (nicotine, cannabis, flavouring), a user may be at risk for intoxication, cancer, and other unknown side effects.
What are the health risks of vaping?
The myth, that vaping does not cause any health issues and is much safer than smoking, is rapidly evaporating. Virtually every e-cigarette has nicotine, as well as other chemicals, that can damage the lungs. Moreover, the long-term health effects of vaping have yet to be scientifically identified.
Nicotine addiction – Vaping substances have been shown to have addictive effects and, as such, lead to nicotine dependence.
New generation of smokers – New nicotine users who take up vaping are at risk of becoming cigarette smokers.
Exploding vapes – The dangers of vaping became mainstream concerns after defective vaping products exploded and caused deaths.
‘Popcorn lung’– Risk of chronic disease that damages airways in the lungs (bronchiolitis obliterans) due to prolonged exposure to diacetyl, a flavouring chemical.
Passive smoking – The smoke exhaled by a vape user contains fewer harmful chemicals but, like smoking, it poses a danger for pregnant women, those who have undergone surgery, and people who have breathing difficulties.
Stunted brain development – Nicotine has been shown to adversely impact brain development in teenagers and cause cognitive problems.
Effects on children – Inhalation of smoke has been found to slow children’s brain development, as well as reducing memory capacity, ability to concentrate, attention spans, and resulting in other adverse effects.
Health risks of vaping liquids – The liquid in vaping substances is usually vegetable glycerine or propyl glycol; the effects of prolonged exposure to those substances are unknown.
Popcorn lung from vaping
Bronchiolitis obliterans — or ‘popcorn lung’ — is a serious and irreversible lung disease associated with vaping. The disease causes damage to small airways in the lungs resulting in coughing and shortness of breath.
The name popcorn lung comes from the chemical diacetyl used in vaping substances. Diacetyl is butter flavouring, often used in popcorn products (microwaveable popcorn). After workers at popcorn factories began to suffer from symptoms of bronchiolitis obliterans, the term, ‘popcorn lung, was coined in referring to the condition.
The symptoms appear after two weeks of prolonged exposure. They include dry cough and shortness of breath, and they are aggravated by exercise or after physical labour.
Diacetyl is no longer used in popcorn products. Yet, it continues to be used in e-cigarette liquids, particularly those that are flavoured. In fact, studies have established that nearly three-quarters of all flavoured vapes and vape liquids contain this substance that causes popcorn lung.
From smoking to vaping … and back to smoking
Investigations by the Globe and Mail have revealed that advertisements for vaping were not aimed at smokers, but rather to ‘appeal to young people’. The Globe reports that nearly half of all 16 to 19-year-olds in Canada have tried e-cigarettes.
Vape product manufacturers such as Juul and Vype have promoted their products widely on social media. This type of ‘lifestyle advertising’ is aimed at adults and teens alike.
Big Tobacco has promoted vaping as a ‘safer’ alternative to its harmful tobacco products. However, since 2018, Big Tobacco has bought out some of the major manufacturers of vape products.
Suing for a vaping-related injury
The health risks and adverse effects of vaping are being discovered with alarming regularity. Lung injuries, brain damage, addiction, exploding vape devices, and injuries to passive smokers are just some of the reasons that people have identified in taking legal actions against vaping companies.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one has been injured due to vaping, speak to a smoking injury lawyer in Toronto immediately. A number of factors have to be considered before filing a claim. They include:
- What injuries have you suffered?
- What have the injuries been caused by (vape device or vape liquid)?
- Did the manufacturer mislead or was it negligent in marketing its products?
- Should the manufacturer have taken additional precautions/carried out further tests before putting the product on sale?
- Was the retailer in violation of vaping laws in selling the product?
- Do you have any underlying condition?
- Was the sale made to someone underage?
- What loss, pain and suffering have you been caused?
Vaping lawsuits do not have to be class action lawsuits, such as those against Big Tobacco that have drawn widespread media attention. Vape devices and vape liquids are manufactured by hundreds of companies. They owe the same high standard of duty of care to their customers.
Schedule a free no-obligation consultation with a lawyer at Pace Law Firm; we can help you receive compensation for your vaping-related injuries. We will connect you with the best medical care, and we will aim to ensure your long-term rehabilitation is addressed.