E-Cigarettes: Personal Injury Dangers and Proposed Regulations

Recently, e-cigarettes have taken the market by storm, promising smokers a safer and healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes.  Although there are many types of e-cigarettes, most of them include a rechargeable lithium battery, a nicotine-containing cartridge, a heating coil, and an LED light. The heating element, or atomizer, heats the nicotine liquid to a boiling point, creating a vapor that the smoker inhales.

Despite e-cigarette companies’ promises that using the device is healthier than cigarettes, many e-cigarette users have suffered devastating personal injuries while using e-cigarettes. For example, the FDA has determined that some liquid cartridges that are marketed as nicotine-free actually contain nicotine, while others did not include the amount of nicotine that is printed on the cartridge’s label.

Additionally, the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Journal recently reported that some e-cigarettes produce formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen. Based on e-cigarette companies’ misleading practices, many e-cigarette consumers are in the dark when it comes to understanding these products. Other reports suggest that e-cigarette vapor may include harmful lung irritants and other addiction-causing chemicals.

The high-concentration liquid nicotine in these products can cause severe and permanent injuries if ingested. The liquids typically include rapidly absorbed neurotoxins that are extremely poisonous if consumed. The Centers for Disease Control reports that poisoning can occur even when the liquid is absorbed through the skin or eyes, or inhaled. Common side effects of ingesting the liquid nicotine include dry cough, seizures, shortness of breath, wheezing, vomiting, eye irritation, headache, and even death.

Throughout the United States, there have been many unfortunate instances in which someone suffered a devastating personal injury as the result of an e-cigarette. In December 2014, for example, a one-year-old boy lost his life as the result of liquid nicotine ingestion. The American Association of Poison Control Centers indicates that this is not the only instance of liquid nicotine-related injury, with the Association receiving almost 4,000 reports of these injuries.

Currently, only e-cigarettes marketed for therapeutic applications are subject to FDA regulation. Without consistent regulation and oversight, the e-cigarette market lacks quality control and uniformity. Recently, the FDA proposed regulations that would give the agency broad authority to regulate the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes. For example, e-cigarette companies have the option to market e-cigarettes as aids to help smokers quit using cigarettes. Under the FDA’s proposed regulations, however, the FDA will place e-cigarettes in the same category as tobacco products subject to regulation by the Tobacco Control Act.

The new regulations would also likely require e-cigarette manufacturers to register with the FDA, report product ingredients, and obtain FDA approval before engaging in any marketing activities. Until the regulations are finalized and enacted, victims of e-cigarette-related injuries are encouraged to file an adverse injury report with the FDA.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury associated with e-cigarettes, including liquid nicotine exposure, the products liability attorneys at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano can help. Our team of experienced professionals has several years of experience providing compassionate legal guidance to victims in Southwest Florida, including Cape Coral, Naples, and Fort Myers. We are prepared to zealously advocate for your rights and to help you collect the evidence you need to support your case. Call 1-800-238-7442 or contact us online to set up a free no-obligation consultation.

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