Vaping Health Concerns, Lawsuits, and Washington State

Manufacturers have positioned e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. But critics have decried vape pens and their flavored products for their appeal to youth. We are also starting to see thousands of vaping users develop serious lung illnesses. Some have even died.

Let’s look at what we know about the health risks and injuries associated with vaping, and how the State of Washington has responded. Since we’re personal injury lawyers, we’re also share what we’re seeing with vaping lawsuits, such as the JUUL lawsuits.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Vaping?

Because e-cigarettes are relatively new, we have yet to see the long-term impacts. However, there have been many reports of illnesses and even deaths from users.

Some of the key health risks of vaping include:

  1. Lung Illnesses. One such illness is called EVALI, which stands for e-cigarette or vaping associated lung illness.
  2. Many users share their vape pens, which can spread disease.
  3. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can be addiction-forming.

Perhaps the greatest health risk to using e-cigarettes is not knowing what the long-term outcomes may be. And, if you’ve never been a smoker before, the CDC recommends it’s best not to start vaping, either.

What are the Concerns with Youth and Vaping?

It’s not a surprise that e-cigarettes have an appeal to adolescence. The devices can be charged in a USB port, and their inconspicuous design makes them easy to conceal. Sweet and candy vaping flavors like cherry, bubble gum, and caramel also seem to target youth.

The statistics about youth vaping in Washington are startling:

  • E-cigarette use is on the rise between 8th and 12th: 30% of all 12th graders have tried vaping in 2018, compared to 20% in 2016.
  • Youth who vape are more likely to smoke or try marijuana: 55% of 10th graders who vape have admitted to also using marijuana.
  • Youth may not recognize health concerns with vaping: Only 35% of 10th graders surveyed believed vaping products are harmful.

What’s Happening with E-Cigarette Battery Explosions?

Besides lung-related illnesses and deaths, injuries can also occur when the e-cigarettes explode.

E-cigarettes contain lithium-ion batteries, which can catch fire or explode if not used correctly. Battery failures can occur when there is a design or manufacturing defect. Labels need to warn consumers of how to use e-cigarettes to avoid these dangers, too.

So, what causes the explosions? Several things can happen to lead to this unfortunate result. The pens can be overcharged, used longer than intended, or exposed to an outside heat source (such as left in the sun).

Not surprisingly, an e-cigarette battery explosion can cause serious injury, or even death.

What are the Concerns with Vaping THC?

It’s clear that vaping THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, poses added risks when added to vapor products.

Recent national research shows that vitamin E, an additive in many THC vaping products, may be responsible for the EVALI outbreak. The good news is that EVALI deaths have started to decline.  This is likely due to increased public awareness and some manufacturers removing vitamin E from their products.

Even so, it’s best to avoid vaping products containing THC as they are not regulated and may be contaminated.

Washington’s Response to Vaping Concerns

When EVALI cases spiked in fall of 2019, Governor Inslee took swift action by imposing a 120-day emergency ban on all flavored vaping products. These products were targeted because of their appeal to youth. Many retailers pushed back as most vaping products sold contain flavors.

That ban has since expired and was not extended. However, the future of these products remains uncertain in Washington State. It’s clear more regulation and understanding of health concerns are needed.

In 2016, Washington passed laws that regulate vapor products. The laws include requiring vendor licenses and prohibiting sales to minors.

The Washington State Health Board is a good resource to watch for emerging research and recommendations.

JUUL and Vaping Lawsuits in Washington State

We are still in the early stages of seeing lawsuits filed against e-cigarette manufacturers such as JUUL.

There are several different ways victims have been harmed by e-cigarette use. As a result, we’re seeing different types of lawsuit complaints, including:

  • Vaping products causing lung-related illnesses
  • Exploding devices (product liability)
  • Formation of addiction
  • Marketing directed towards youth
  • Lack of warning/labeling

Of course, manufacturers are prepared to defend their interests in court. This is why it’s important to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney for help. An attorney will represent you and be prepared to fight for your interests in and out of court.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Free Consultation

Have you or a loved one been injured by vaping products? If our attorneys would like to hear from you.

We offer free case evaluations, so you risk nothing. At the end of our meeting, you’ll have a better idea of your legal options. If a vaping lawsuit is the next step, you should know that our attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means you only pay us if we win you a settlement. Contact our offices today to schedule your consultation.

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