Vaping devices have been advertised as a way to help smokers quit smoking and as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco. Of late, vaping has increasingly taken center stage for another reason. It turns out that vaping isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
In addition to vaping liquid being just as addictive as traditional tobacco products, it causes serious health issues not only for those who vape, but for the people around them inhaling secondhand vapors. Litigation against JUUL and other e-cigarette companies is growing as more discoveries surface about the dangers of electronic smoking devices.
So far there have been 26 confirmed vaping-related deaths, and almost 1,300 injuries, with more reported every week. This doesn’t account for the number of people who have symptoms but have yet to seek medical care. Many of those injured have been diagnosed with an illness called chemical pneumonia.
Chemical pneumonia is the inflammation of lung tissue caused by inhalation of chemicals or toxins in liquid, gas, vapor or small particulate forms – exactly what constitutes vaping liquid or juice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the liquid used for vaping is comprised of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, and flavoring chemicals containing diacetyl, is known to cause cancer and bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly known as “popcorn lung.” A recent study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found levels of diacetyl “above the laboratory limit of detection” in 39 out of the 51 flavored e-cig products they tested. These VOCs are the primary cause of chemical pneumonia.
There are various factors that can affect the seriousness of the e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury (EVALI) such as length of exposure, age, prior health condition, and how concentrated the chemical is. Some of these chemicals harm the lungs while others cause damage to other organs.
Symptoms of chemical pneumonia that someone might encounter due to vaping are:
- Burning of the nose, eyes, lips, mouth, and throat
- Swelling of eyes or tongue
- Dry cough
- Wet cough producing clear, yellow, or green mucus
- Cough producing blood or frothy pink matter in saliva
- Nausea or abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Painful breathing or pleuritis
- Flu symptoms, including headache and fever
- Weakness or a general ill feeling
- Delirium or disorientation
- Rapid pulse
- Pale or cyanotic skin and lips
- Heavy sweating
- Hoarse or muffled voice
- Chemical odors on other areas of the body
If users of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have learned anything from the media coverage of late, it’s that getting immediate medical attention can mean the difference between life and death. If you experience any of the above symptoms it is important that you get to the hospital as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
If your health or the health of someone you love has been affected by vaping or JUULing, the product liability attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC want to hear your story. We believe that companies who put products on the market for consumer use have a responsibility to make sure they are safe for anyone who comes in contact with them. We step up to protect consumers in South Carolina and nationwide when manufacturers fail to do so. To schedule a free consultation, call our dedicated e-cigarette hotline at 864-651-9295 or reach out to us through our contact page.