In the past few decades, smoking rates have decreased drastically, especially among young people. Unfortunately, new ways of nicotine consumption are replacing traditional tobacco use among teens and young people.
Vaping Over Cigarettes: Not Great, Not Terrible Either
While cigarettes burns tobacco, a ‘vape’ instead heats concentrated nicotine juice which is then turned to steam and inhaled by the user. E-cigarettes and vapes have been around for more than a decade, but the NIH says their use has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to popular vape brands like Juul. Most vape and e-cigarette companies present themselves as healthier alternatives to cigarettes and as a way to help smokers quit. It is true that vaping is less harmful than smoking–the vapor from an e-cigarette contains less carcinogens and chemicals than regular cigarette smoke. However, vapes are by no means safe.
Health Concerns Related to Vaping
The vapor from an e-cigarette often contains heavy metals and other potentially carcinogenic chemicals, according to the CDC. For example, diacetyl, a chemical used for flavoring, has been linked with severe lung disease. Furthermore, there is concern that vapes and e-cigarettes may actually increase smoking rates among teens and young people. Juul presents themselves as a healthier alternative to smoking. While it is true that vaping may help some smokers quit, more and more people using e-cigarettes are first-time nicotine users.
There have also been reports of vapes exploding and injuring people, likely caused by malfunctioning batteries. Recently, a Texas man was killed when the vape he was using suffered a malfunction and exploded in his mouth. Users should be careful, as many vape products are not regulated and could therefore have safety flaws the user might not be aware of.
Additionally, vapes may be nominally healthier than cigarettes but could make addiction worse. According to the CDC, a single Juul cartridge of nicotine juice contains as much nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes. Nicotine addiction can cause health problems and have serious consequences on developing brains. It is recommended by the CDC and others that parents not let their children use e-cigarettes at all, that vaping is highly addictive, and that vaping is not safe or healthy on its own, even as a replacement for smoking.
Recently, a congressional committee has confronted e-cigarette companies, especially Juul, about the rise in vape usage among teens. The committee is investigating allegations that Juul targeted underage teens with marketing and sales practices which illegally solicited nicotine products to minors. Juul potentially engaged in marketing on various social media platforms which targeted minors and did not have sufficient measures in place to prevent minors from buying their products. This investigation comes at a time when vape usage increased by 78% among high-schoolers from 2017 to 2018.
In another response to this rise in teen vape use, the FDA is also considering increasing regulations on e-cigarettes. However, this process is expected to take some time and face opposition from the industry. Currently, there are few regulations that govern e-cigarette sale or use.
If a defective product has caused you or a loved one to suffer, you owe it to yourself to get help. Contact the legal team at Regan Zambri Long PLLC for a free consultation about your product liability case today.