Vape and E-Cigarette Injury Attorneys

Vape Injury Attorney

Vaping is inhaling and exhaling a type of aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by E-liquid (also called vape juice) when placed in an e-cigarette, vape mod, vape pen, or similar device.

The device heats the liquid when it’s activated, and it releases the aerosol or heated vapor, which is then inhaled by the user. It’s often used as a replacement for smoking cigarettes.

Vaping and e-cigarette use is a growing trend. In fact, USA Today reports that millions of teens are vaping every day with more than 3 million middle and high school students admitting to vaping regularly.

According to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, from 2017 to 2018, the number of high school students who said they use e-cigarettes increased 78 percent. 

What is Vaping?

Ingredients of Vape Juice (E-liquid)

Most vape juice consists of three or four ingredients:

  • Propylene Glycol and/or Vegetable Glycerin
  • Nicotine
  • Non-oil food-grade flavorings

There are more than 7 thousand vape juice flavors such as candy flavors like cotton candy or sweet tarts, dessert flavors like apple pie, or traditional tobacco or mint.

There’s also growing trend of users vaping CBD oil or marijuana-infused E-juice.

Types of Vaping Devices

Vaping devices come in various shapes, sizes, styles, and colors. Most are battery powered. Some vapes have a built-in battery while others have removable/chargeable batteries, typically lithium-ion batteries.

The atomizer of a vaping device connects to a coil and uses power from the battery to heat the coil. Coils are typically created from various types of wire made of stainless steel, NiChrome, titanium, kanthal or nickel. A wick carries the juice to the coil. Wicks are usually made of cotton, silica, or stainless-steel mesh.

Various Styles Of Vape Pens

Vape Mod

A vape mod is typically larger than an e-cigarette and produces higher vapor production or clouds.

A vape mod is similar in function to a vape pen but is modified to include certain advanced features.

Vape Pen

A vape pen functions like a vape mod but is smaller and produces smaller vapor production or clouds. A vape pen can be as small and slender as a pencil or as large as a cigar.

E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems are electronic devices that simulate the look and feel of smoking traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes have minimal parts and are easy to set-up and transport places. Most have built-in batteries that can be recharged by plugging the device in to a power outlet or computer. Some E-cigarettes have removable, juice-filled pod systems while others can be refilled like a mod system. Still, other e-cigarettes are disposable and come already filled and can be thrown out when all the e-liquid is gone.

Is Vaping Dangerous?

While vaping is a new trend, and little is known about the long-term effects, there are inherent risks involved. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical and studies have shown that exposure to e-liquid increases cell death and that cells exposed to vaped fluid are unable to fight off bacteria.

Other risks include, but aren’t limited to:

Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, the aerosol that comes out of an e-cigarette or vape mod is not water vapor and can be harmful.

Vapor may contain substances that are addictive (some contain nicotine, CBD, or marijuana/THC) and could potentially cause lung disease, heart disease, and other cancers.

Other chemicals found in vape juice such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin have been found to increase lung and airway irritation after concentrated exposure.

Formaldehyde may form if E-liquid gets too hot or not enough vape juice is reaching the heating element (dry-puff). Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing agent.

While nicotine alone isn’t necessarily a cancer-causing agent, it is known to be highly addictive, cause premature births and other birth defects, and can harm brain development in children and teenagers.

Vape Explosions

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) reports that between 2009-16 there were 195 vape-related explosions or fires which resulted in 133 acute injuries.

About 29 percent of the reported injuries (38) were considered severe. No deaths were reported during that time, but according to media reports, there have been at least two deaths from vape explosions from 2018-19.

Vape-related fires or explosions can have devastating consequences for victims and the USFA expects the number of incidents to continue to increase.

The lithium-ion batteries used to power most vaping devices seems to be the main cause of vape explosions, with 121 (62 percent) of the incidents occurring when the device is either in a pocket or actively in use.

Although lithium-ion batteries are used in most electronic devices such as cell phones, laptop computers, and power tools, the way many vape mods and pens are designed can create an unsafe environment that causes the batteries to shoot out like a rocket when they get overheated or malfunction in some way.

Many injuries have also been from loose batteries being stored in pockets, purses, or cluttered drawers where they come in contact with other batteries, coins, or metal objects. 

Causes of vape or e-cigarette explosions may include a faulty or malfunctioning:

  • Device
  • Battery
  • Charger

When users try to modify their own vaping device, using varying parts from multiple manufacturers, this can also put them at risk of an explosion or fire.

Overcharging lithium-ion batteries or using the incorrect charger for a battery is also risky.

Popcorn Lung

Popcorn lung is a condition that causes airway scarring because of inflammation. It eventually causes irreversible and uncurable lung damage.

While there is no cure, there are treatments that exist to help manage symptoms of popcorn lung, but it is considered a life-threatening diagnosis because over time it causes airways to narrow, which can make breathing more difficult. A lack of oxygen to vital organs can cause them to shut down, leading to death.  

Popcorn lung gets its name from the chemical diacetyl, which used to be commonly used to give food products, like popcorn, a rich, buttery flavor. It’s also found in some alcoholic beverages and dairy products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has categorized diacetyl as “generally recognized as safe,” but that’s to ingest as a food additive.

The term popcorn lung was derived from an incident where workers in a microwave popcorn factory began having breathing and lung issues.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted an analysis and determined the cause of the factory workers’ issues was from breathing in diacetyl fumes and that long-term exposure at high levels was deemed a health hazard.

Some e-liquid flavors contain diacetyl, mainly custard, dessert or cherry flavors.

While there are no reported cases of popcorn lung from vaping, long-term exposure to inhaling diacetyl in large amounts has been associated with popcorn lung.

Because vaping is a new trend, we don’t yet know all the long-term effects. 

Overdose/Poisoning

Nicotine poisoning was rare up until recently when vaping and e-cigarettes became popular.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reported in 2014 that 50 percent of nicotine exposure occurred in children younger than 6-years-old.

Vaping and e-liquid are the most common reasons for nicotine poisoning in adults, but children are most at risk of nicotine poisoning through eating products that contain nicotine or by drinking or touching E-liquid that contains nicotine.

If you’ve experienced a vape explosion or suffer from breathing or lung issues due to vaping, contact one of our personal injury attorneys today. We have offices in Athens, Atlanta, and Lake Oconee and we offer free consultations.

Fill out our free case review form or call us at 706-354-4000.