The electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, was invented in 2003 as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Nearly 20 years later, e-cigarette and vaping devices have become a staple in the industry. JUUL is one of the leading e-cigarette companies, valued at around $38 billion. Currently, around 50 million people use e-cigarettes and vaping devices. Unfortunately, users are at risk of several major health problems – and potentially many more that scientists still have not discovered.
Despite being widely advertised as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes pose many of the same (and new) health threats. One is the risk of nicotine addiction. Almost all e-cigs and vaping devices contain nicotine. One JUUL cartridge has a nicotine content of 5 percent, which is approximately the same amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes. Nicotine has many well-known health risks, especially for children and young adults with still-developing brains. These risks include:
Vapes and e-cigarettes have always been marketed toward young consumers, with sweet flavorings and modern-looking devices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that as of 2020, approximately 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students currently used e-cigarettes. This equated to about 3.02 million high school students and 550,000 middle schoolers.
Contrary to popular belief, inhaling the vapors and aerosols created by electronic cigarettes is not safe for the lungs. E-cigarette aerosols contain a mix of many different chemicals in addition to nicotine and flavorings that can harm the lungs when inhaled for an extended period of time. These chemicals often contain harmful substances such as diacetyl (a chemical linked to lung disease), heavy metals such as lead and cancer-causing substances.
Diacetyl is a chemical that is added to many e-cigarette devices to create a butter flavor. It has been directly linked to a harmful condition referred to as “popcorn lung,” so-named because it was originally discovered among workers in popcorn plants who were breathing in diacetyl daily. Cumulative exposure to diacetyl vapor can result in abnormal lung function from a buildup of scar tissue in the lungs. This is just one risk of lung injury and disease associated with JUUL devices and vaping.
Some potential health risks of e-cigarettes do not have to do with the chemicals being inhaled but with the safety of the electronic device itself. The lithium battery used to power e-cigarettes and vaping devices can potentially explode or overheat and catch on fire – causing severe burn injuries, lacerations, amputations and even death. This product defect has been linked to hundreds of explosions and fires in the U.S. over the years, along with over 100 acute injuries and multiple deaths.
E-cigarettes have already been linked to seizures, strokes, serious lung injuries, lung diseases and many other adverse health outcomes. However, the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarette, JUUL and vaping devices remain a mystery. Scientists still do not know what damage to the lungs, respiratory system, reproductive system and cardiovascular system may be associated with these devices.
Since JUULs and vaping devices have not yet been around long enough to conduct long-term studies, there is no way to know what dangers and health hazards may be discovered in the future. If you or a loved one has been injured or gotten ill due to a JUUL or another brand of e-cigarette, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in Phoenix against the manufacturing company. Discuss this possibility with an attorney at Stone Rose Law during a free consultation to learn more.