Over the past few years, vaping has become more and more popular among young people. This controversial habit has recently taken a dangerous turn, as hundreds of patients across the country – including several in New Jersey – have suffered mysterious lung illnesses doctors believe are a result of vaping. The vast majority of these patients were otherwise healthy, showing up in emergency rooms and urgent care with extreme shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a public statement acknowledging the first known related death to vaping and e-cigarettes, and committing to an investigation to determine a more comprehensive understanding and possible cause of the illnesses. If you or a loved one has suffered a vape-related illness or injury, read on to find out more about your options.
What are e-cigarettes and vapes?
E-cigarettes (or “e-cigs”) are sometimes called vape pens or vapes. Vaping (or “juuling”) is the act of inhaling a vapor produced by an e-cigarette or other vaping device. An e-cigarette is a battery powered (typically a USB-charged) smoking device, typically used with a cartridge filled with liquid.
This liquid can be flavored nicotine, THC or other oil-based substances. The battery heats the cartridge, which produces the vapor that’s inhaled. Although many people believe vaping is “healthier” than smoking cigarettes, there’s no hard evidence proving that’s true.
Vaping is still a relatively new phenomenon, but we do know that nicotine is highly addictive. We also know that vapor is inhaled directly into the lungs, which can cause irritation and damage.
Risks and illnesses – vaping in NJ
Here in New Jersey and across the country, patients have been presenting with vape-related illness and conditions – from mild to life threatening. In fact, the NJ Department of Health recently released a statewide health alert to healthcare providers and local health departments regarding the outbreak. The CDC advises looking out for the following symptoms of vape-related illness:
- Cough, shortness of breath or chest pain
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Fatigue, fever or weight loss
Some patients developed their symptoms over a few days and other patients developed symptoms over a period of a few weeks. Doctors noted that pulmonary infections don’t seem to be the cause, as symptoms don’t generally improve with antibiotic treatment alone.
Vaping sickness, personal injury and product liability
A recent lawsuit filed in New Jersey against the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul alleges the company failed to warn about the health effects and risks of its products – including nicotine addiction, increased blood pressure, cardiovascular changes, brain changes and other harms. The plaintiff also alleges they suffered permanent brain injury due to their addiction.
The vaping industry is putting profit over people. New Jersey is experiencing an epidemic and it’s time manufacturers are held accountable. We can help you make them take responsibility by holding them to product liability laws.
At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of the people of New Jersey. If you or a loved one has suffered injury from a defective product, we can help. We have offices in Edison, Red Bank, or Toms River, New Jersey. Call us today for a consultation at 732-777-0100 or fill out our contact form.