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Can You File a Claim Against an E-Cigarette Company? – Part I

January 15 2020 | Blog, Uncategorized
  • In this two-part article, we explain how vaping has become so popular, whether there is evidence that vaping devices are dangerous, and whether you can file a claim against an e-cigarette company if you suffered injuries related to vaping.

    After almost a decade of existence in a regulatory vacuum, e-cigarettes have come under increased scrutiny, criticism, and legal backlash from governmental agencies and individuals alike. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ever-growing popularity of e-cigarettes and their proliferation among teenagers have led to a nationwide outbreak of a potentially fatal lung condition that the agency has labeled “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury” or EVALI.

    As of December 4, the CDC registered 2,291 EVALI cases that required hospitalization in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Sadly, 48 of these cases resulted in deaths.

    Due to this danger associated with vaping and the fact that the exact cause of the outbreak is still being investigated, the CDC has warned the public that “the only way to assure that you are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.”

    In this article, you will learn how vaping products work, what are the common dangers associated with them, and what your legal options are if you have suffered injuries that can be ascribed to e-cigarette use.

    How Vaping Works and Why it has Become So Popular

    E-cigarettes were introduced to the US in 2007 and quickly gained popularity as a safer alternative to smoking and aid in overcoming tobacco addiction. The early adopters of the technology would often point out that, as e-cigarettes vaporize nicotine liquid instead of burning tobacco as regular cigarettes do, they make it possible to deliver nicotine to the user’s system without any toxic chemicals normally present in cigarette smoke.

    This reasoning is still used as one of the major selling points by the vaping industry today. For example, as quoted by The New York Times, Brittani Cushman, the board president of the Vapor Technology Association, said: “We think that harm reduction, and the potential of harm reduction, for these products cannot be dismissed.”

    Today, vaping is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The revenue from vaping product sales was projected to reach $3.6 billion in 2018. Admittedly, the common perception that e-cigarettes are safer than regular ones is one factor that has helped the industry grow so much in such a short period of time. However, the reasons for this growth are more complex.

    The demographic group that is the driving force behind the ever-growing sales numbers consists of young people. According to Gallup, the percentage of those who vape regularly in the 18-29 age range is more than two times higher than the national average. These rates are even higher among high-school students.

    According to the industry’s critics, the vaping companies have purposefully marketed their products to young people. In fact, the initial imports of e-cigarettes were halted by the FDA in 2009 over concerns that “e-cigarettes can increase nicotine addiction among young people” and that “e-cigarettes are sold without any legal age restrictions, and are available in different flavors (such as chocolate, strawberry, and mint) which may appeal to young people.”

    Legal Action Taken Against E-Cigarette Companies

    In addition, following a recent court ruling, e-cigarettes producers now have time only until May 2020 to submit applications to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with proof that the benefits of vaping products outweigh the potential risks. The previous deadline that would give the manufacturers almost 4 additional years to do so was struck down by a district court in July 2019, with a sharp rise of vaping among teenagers being one of the main reasons for the decision.

    As of December 2019, a number of lawsuits were filed against JUUL, one of the biggest manufacturers of vaping products, in relation to injuries including severe lung conditions, stroke, seizures, and nicotine addiction. In addition to these, New York City also filed a federal lawsuit against 22 online sellers of flavored e-cigarettes for illegally selling vaping products to minors.

    Other lawsuits related to e-cigarettes are regarding alleged injuries that occurred as a result of the product’s lithium battery explosion.

    Next week, stay tuned for the second part of this article, where we will explore some of the most common dangerous side-effects of vaping and analyze legal options for compensation available for those who may have been injured due to e-cigarette use.

    In the meantime, please contact Hughes & Coleman if you have been injured in connection with e-cigarette usage and have any questions.

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