Researchers at Harvard warn that most e-cigarettes and vaping liquids contain flavoring chemicals linked to “Popcorn Lung,” a severe lung disease. Health experts are also concerned because many companies market e-cigarettes as safer than traditional cigarettes without long-term evidence.
Need a Texas E-Cigarette Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was injured by an e-cigarette, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit in Texas.
UPDATE: FDA Will Regulate E-Cigarettes
May 5, 2016 — In a move sure to upend the e-cigarette industry, the FDA has announced sweeping new authority to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors and require expensive approval applications. Click here to read more.
January 8, 2016 — As the use of e-cigarettes by children and teenagers soars, the CDC is warning that pervasive ad campaigns are targeting young people. Click here to read more.
January 4, 2016 — Vaping liquids in e-cigarettes can harm epithelial cells and damage DNA in a way that might lead to cancer, according to a new study. Click here to read more.
December 9, 2015 — Over 75% of flavored e-cigarettes tested by researchers at Harvard contained the chemical diacetyl, which has been linked to a chronic respiratory illness known as “Popcorn Lung.” Click her to read more.
December 18, 2014 — In Fort Plain, New York, the tragic death of a 1 year-old boy has been blamed on accidental poisoning from liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes. Click here to read more.
July 8, 2014 — Swiss Re Ltd., an insurance liability risk-assessment group, has issued a report (PDF) warning that electronic cigarettes could trigger liability claims similar to tobacco litigation. The group warned that the long-term health effects of smoking e-cigarettes are unknown. Click here to read more.
May 5, 2014 — New York Times has reviewed studies finding formaldehyde in e-cigarettes that use tank systems, in which users “drip” e-liquid directly onto a heating element to produce large amounts of vapor. Click here to read more.
What is an Electronic Cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes, also known as “vapes” or “e-cigs,” are battery-operated smoking devices. However, instead of combusting nicotine using a flame, e-cigs use a battery-charged heating element to vaporize nicotine, chemicals, and other substances (sometimes called “e-juice”) into a substance that is inhaled.
E-cigs were created in 2003 but did not hit the mainstream in 2007. The first generation of products and looked much like cigarettes and were unregulated. By 2014, e-cigs were a $1.5 billion/year industry that with the “Big Three” tobacco giants on board — Lorillard, Philip Morris (Altria), and Reynolds. Newer devices look much different from cigarettes, with high-capacity batteries and liquid cartridges.
E-Cigarette Side Effects
- Popcorn Lung
- Bronchiolitis obliterans
- Fixed airway obstruction
- Chronic bronchitis
- Diseases of the small airway
- And more
Diacetyl in Flavored E-Cigarettes Linked to Lung Disease
In December 2015, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health published a study found that nearly all of the flavored e-cigarettes they tested contain potentially harmful flavoring chemicals.
The researchers analyzed 51 types of e-cigarettes for three “high-risk” chemicals linked to lung diseases. Only four products did not contain the chemicals — but 39 (76%) contained diacetyl, an ingredient used in e-cigarette flavorings like fruit, candy, and alcohol. Another 46 flavored e-cigarettes contained acetoin, and 23 contained 2,3-pentanedione.
What is Popcorn Lung?
Popcorn Lung, also known as bronchiolitis obliterans, is a life-threatening and incurable lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It occurs when the smallest airways in the lungs, called bronchioles, are scarred and narrowed. This can reduce or stop air-flow through these airways.
The disease got its name in 2004, after it was diagnosed in several workers at a microwave popcorn production plant in Missouri. All of the workers routinely breathed air tainted with diacetyl, a chemical in artificial butter flavoring.
Workers are not the only ones diagnosed with the disease. In September 2012, $7.2 million was awarded to a man who was diagnosed with “Popcorn Lung” after eating two bags of microwave popcorn every day for a decade.
Symptoms of Popcorn Lung
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Scarring (fibrosis) of the airways
E-Cigarettes Regulated by FDA
E-cigarettes are now regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency originally proposed regulating them as medical devices. However, a federal judge determined that e-cigs should be regulated as tobacco products because they are not used for a medical purpose.
In April 2014, the FDA proposed regulations that would ban sales to people under 18, require manufacturers to disclose ingredients (but not to the public), and provide a warning label stating: “WARNING: This product contains nicotine derived from tobacco. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”
What is the problem?
Advocates of e-cigarettes say they are less harmful than regular cigarettes and they are a powerful tool to help smokers quit. However, critics fear that e-cigarettes could hook a new generation of children on nicotine and create a path to addiction. Others are concerned that e-cigarettes have become the new way to smoke THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of U.S. middle-school students (grades 6-8) who had tried e-cigarettes doubled from 2011 to 2012 — from 3.3% to 6.8%. The agency warned:
“This is a serious concern because the overall impact of e-cigarette use on public health remains uncertain. In youths, concerns include the potential negative impact of nicotine on adolescent brain development, as well as the risk for nicotine addiction and initiation of the use of conventional cigarettes or other tobacco products.”
Ingredients in E-Cigarettes
Manufacturers of e-cigarettes are not required to tell consumers what is in the product. In 2009, the FDA conducted an analysis of samples from e-cigarettes manufactured by NJOY and Smoking Everywhere. The analysis found the following ingredients:
- Diethylene glycol was detected in one cartridge at approximately 1%. Diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze, is toxic to humans.
- Certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens were detected in half of the samples tested.
- Tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans—anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine—were detected in a majority of the samples tested.
- The electronic cigarette cartridges that were labeled as containing no nicotine had low levels of nicotine present in all cartridges tested, except one.
- Three different electronic cigarette cartridges with the same label were tested and each cartridge emitted a markedly different amount of nicotine with each puff. The nicotine levels per puff ranged from 26.8 to 43.2 mcg nicotine/100 mL puff.
- One high-nicotine cartridge delivered twice as much nicotine to users when the vapor from that electronic cigarette brand was inhaled than was delivered by a sample of the nicotine inhalation product (used as a control) approved by FDA for use as a smoking cessation aid.
E-Cigarette Class Action Lawsuit Information
One of the first e-cigarette class action lawsuits was filed against NJOY in February 2014 in California, according to Courthouse News. The plaintiff, Eric McGovern, alleges that NJOY used deceptive marketing tactics to promote e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. The lawsuit also alleges that NJOY implies their product can be a smoking-cessation aid.
Need a Texas E-Cigarette Lawyer?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas e-cigarette lawyers for a free lawsuit review.