Vaping has grown tremendously in popularity since its introduction into the marketplace in the early 2000’s. Generally seen as safer than traditional cigarettes, people have flocked to buy and use these devices. Some do it because they consider vaping to be the equivalent of “quitting” smoking, and others – like our youth – have possibly never smoked, but simply liked the idea of being able to simulate smoking on a relatively safe device. But as the years go on, these devices and the juice that is used to create the vapor are being studied more and more, and the results show that they may not be as safe as it was once thought.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is essentially the use of an electronic device that mimics the act of smoking. There are three basic elements to a vaping device, the battery pack, the atomizer or cartridge, and the juice. Users will fill the atomizer with juice, connect the battery pack to the atomizer, and then they are ready to vape. The battery of the device will heat up the juice, thereby creating a vapor that can be inhaled. The juices on the market come in an almost infinite number of flavors and nicotine levels, all the way from 25 mg to zero.
Is Vaping Safe?
Well, the jury is still out on that question. When vaping entered the marketplace, it was thought that inhaling vapor instead of smoke must be safer. The thought process went something like this: If you inhale too much smoke, you might die, but no one ever died from vapor inhalation. So it must be better, right? Add to that the fact that there are literally 1000’s of carcinogens in cigarettes and no proof that nearly that many are in vape juice, and you have what seems like a pretty decent argument for vaping over smoking.
However, “safer” compared to something that we know is highly deadly is certainly not the same as saying that vaping is completely safe. But a couple of decades ago when this all started, there was no research to refute the safety claim. Today, however, there are more and more studies being done that suggest that there are significant health concerns related to vaping that we should all be aware of.
Safety Concerns of the Device Itself
Vaping devices have a history of exploding. And yes, compared to the number of users out there who use the device daily, the number of explosions is statistically small. But for the people who were gravely injured by those explosions, statistics really don’t matter – their pain and suffering does.
But why do vaping devices explode? These devices use a lithium-ion battery, which is not unusual to us these days. Lithium-ion batteries are used in everything from your laptop to your cell phone. But the difference in design makes e-cig (electronic cigarette) batteries significantly more dangerous than batteries used in laptops or cell phones. For instance, laptop batteries have thick, protective housing around them so that, even if they explode (which does happen), they will not cause much, if any, physical damage to the user. Likewise, cell phones use lithium batteries, but they are flat and rectangular.
But the batteries used in e-cigs or vaporizers are cylindrical in shape, and they are inserted into a receptacle in the device that is the same cylindrical shape. And the cylindrical shape of the receiver tube, by its very nature, is weakest at both ends. So when a vaping device explodes, the cylindrical battery can shoot out of its casing and essentially become a small missile that can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the user. Some types of damage include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of Body Parts
- Moderate to Severe Harm to the Face and Neck
- Loss of Skin
- Minor to Severe Cuts and Bruises
- Bone Loss
- Facial Injuries and/or Disfigurement
- Smoke Inhalation
- Loss of Range of Motion
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Injury Infection
- 3rd, 2nd, and 1st Degree Burns
Health concerns stem from the inhalation of the juice found in e-cigs. This juice is utterly unregulated, and the hard truth is that unless a specific brand and flavor has been tested, nobody really knows what’s in there. Generally speaking however, e-juice is basically composed of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine (usually), and flavorings.
But what other chemicals make it into the juice is unknown and unpredictable. One compound of particular concern is diacetyl, which is found in many flavorings and is known to cause popcorn lung – a very serious lung disease. But the mist or vapor coming off of the device can also contain other chemical and possible carcinogens – ultra-fine particles that can get deeply embedded into the lungs, heavy metals like lead or tin and, of course, nicotine. These chemicals can cause a variety of illnesses like:
- DNA damage
- Acute, emergency level lung injuries
- Shortness of breath
- Heart disease / Cardiac Issues
Pulmonary illnesses can wreak havoc within a family. They are expensive, painful, and often incapable of being reversed. People who have been harmed by vaping devices may be able to be compensated for medical testing, health care costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
I Think I Have a Case, What Should I Do?
As with all cases, before seeing a lawyer it is best to organize your thoughts. You may want to write out all that you can recall surrounding your electronic cigarette usage. When did you start? When did you stop (if applicable)? What brands of vaporizer and e-cig juice have you used in the past? What brand was your device at the time of the injury, or which devices have you used since you started vaping? When did symptoms begin? What were the first symptoms that something was wrong? When did it progress? How did it progress? Do you have any medical records to back all of this up? If so, gather them up and go talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Talk to and Experienced Attorney
So if you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by the use of electronic cigarettes or vaping devices, speak to an attorney at Batson Nolan PLC. They will be able to assess your case and help you decide if you should pursue a claim against the company who is legally accountable for your injuries. Call us today, or contact us online to set up a free consultation in our Clarksville or Springfield office.