Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jul 19, 2019 in Defective Products
Since 2006, when electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) first hit the US market, sales have exploded. The worldwide e-cigarette market is worth more than $10 billion, with the U.S. market making up a large chunk of that.
These products work by heating and vaporizing flavored oils to create a vapor that can be inhaled by the user. The sealed, single use, flavored oil pods are used in slickly designed devices. Flavors range from blueberry and other fruits to cotton candy and coffee.
E-cigarettes are marketed as safer alternatives to cigarette smoking. In fact, using these devices is not even referred to as smoking, it is called vaping. Manufacturers can promote these products with commercials, websites and advertising campaigns because they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like cigarettes.
Despite what the marketing says, these products may contain many of the same risks as cigarettes. Faulty design can also lead to the batteries in these devices exploding, which can result in serious injury and even death.
There was a 900 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high schoolers between 2011 and 2015. A 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 1.7 million students in high school had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.
According to research from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, adolescents who use e-cigarettes absorb nicotine at close to the same rate as adolescents who use traditional cigarettes. So, while e-cigarettes contain fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes, which have thousands of chemicals and dozens of cancer-causing substances, there is still concern that they may promote nicotine addiction, especially for younger people.
With this concern in mind, the FDA is investigating Juul, the leading e-cigarette brand in the U.S., for aggressively marketing products to kids and teens. Marketing for these often promotes the fruity flavors and associates Juul e-cigarettes with freedom and rebellion and sometimes has celebrity endorsements.
A 15-year-old girl and her parents have filed a class action lawsuit against Juul Labs and Altria Group, a tobacco company, alleging that they purposely tried to get teenagers hooked on the product with the use of deceptive marketing tactics. The manufacturers have also been accused of racketeering.
The suit claims that the girl started using Juul when she was 14 and enjoyed the fruity mango flavor. At the time, the suit claims the girl was unaware that the device contained nicotine and now she is addicted to the device and suffers seizures.
The FDA has sent 60 warning letters to Juul distributors that sold the product to those who are underage. However, Juul gave a statement to RollingStone saying it was not intentionally targeting underage users with its marketing.
E-cigarettes are not only dangerous for some of the same reasons as cigarettes. Batteries inside these devices have exploded and caused serious injury and even death to users. In January, a 24-year-old in Fort Worth, Texas was killed after his e-cigarette blew up in his face and severed an artery in his neck.
According to research by a UNT Health Science Center dean, there were an estimated 2,035 hospital emergency room visits for e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries from 2015-2017.
Batteries in electronic cigarettes, like all batteries, have safe operating limits when it comes to how much heat they can withstand or how much power can be drawn from them. Faulty design by e-cigarette manufacturers can result in battery usage that exceeds safe limits and lead to catastrophic failure that can result in an explosion.
The Ft Worth Star-Telegram reports that there are four open lawsuits in Texas regarding electronic cigarettes exploding.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an electronic cigarette device, either because of the effects of nicotine or because the device exploded, our Phoenix product liability lawyers can discuss the situation in a free legal consultation.
Call us at 1-800-706-3000.
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