An unidentified patient in Illinois has died from complications due to a serious lung disease likely related to vaping. The death is considered the first in the U.S. involving lung disease linked to e-cigarettes. However, it is not the first death tied to this popular trend.
A young Texas man lost his life early this year when a vaping pen exploded in his face. These devices are quite popular in many circles, but certain models are not regulated and are therefore dangerous. The owner of a nearby vaping store compared the unregulated pen that caused the accident to a pipe bomb. Some of the pens have safety features that stop the batteries from overheating, but this one did not.
The U.S. Fire Administration reported close to 200 E-cigarette explosions and fires in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016. The 24-year old victim was with his grandmother in a car when the accident happened.
How Safe is Vaping?
Vaping pens, or electronic cigarettes, have been on the market in the U.S. for over a decade; it is a $6.6 billion per-year industry. Although there is little research about the effects of its long-term use, it is marketed as being a better alternative to cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has performed some studies on vape pens and advises against charging them overnight, using phone chargers to charge them, and to keep loose batteries separate from the pens. The FDA also keeps track of e-cigarette explosions and fires via their website.
Reports of Lung Disease Linked to Vaping
At least one study shows that chemicals used in several of the flavored liquids are linked to lung disease. These chemicals, diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, are hazardous when they are inhaled because they affect the cilia, tiny hairs in the airways that prevent dirt and mucus from getting in. Harvard scientists found even low doses destroy cilia, and question why there are no standards for vaping pens.
The Question of Liability
Although the long-term effects of vaping are unclear, the majority of the explosions occur when the devices are being charged. The rest happen while they are being used, or when inside a user’s pocket. Most accidents can be blamed on product malfunctions, manufacturing flaws, poor production, defective batteries, or using the wrong kind of charger.
Many victims have filed product liability suits against manufacturers, citing battery design defects that lead to different injuries ranging from burns to losing an eye. A main problem is that vaping is a newer technology, and as more and more companies produce them, there are still no testing processes in place to promote safety. It is hard to determine whether some of the explosions are due to manufacturing issues, battery problems, or consumers not using the pens properly. Many users customize their pens without regard to safety.
Each year, companies create hundreds of new vape pens and flavorings for consumers, and these are sold in stores and online, making it difficult to regulate. Although determining fault for injuries and illnesses can be challenging, an experienced product liability lawyer can help.
Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Those Harmed by Dangerous and Defective Products
If you or someone you care about has become ill or was injured in a vaping pen accident, contact a Philadelphia product liability lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Complete an online form for a free consultation or call us at 215-569-8488 or 302-888-1221 today. We represent clients in Philadelphia, Delaware County, and Chester County, Pennsylvania, as well as those in Wilmington, Delaware, and New Jersey.