E-Cigarettes and Popcorn Lung Disease - Consumer Justice Foundation

E-Cigarettes and Popcorn Lung Disease

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E-cigarette users who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening lung disease called “popcorn lung” may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and medical expenses.

The flavoring chemicals used in e-cigarettes to make the devices more appealing to younger users may contain dangerous levels of a chemical called diacetyl, which has been linked to a potentially life-threatening lung disease known as “popcorn lung.” If you have been diagnosed with popcorn lung or another serious lung-related illness, and you believe harmful chemicals from flavored e-cigs or liquid e-cig refills to be the cause, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are committed to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by dangerous and defective products, and can help put you in touch with a reputable popcorn lung attorney who has experience handling e-cigarette injury claims.

Federal Regulators, E-Cigs and Lung Disease

July 2007 – Dr. Cecile Rose of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center warns government agencies in a letter that consumers may be at risk for popcorn lung due to diacetyl exposure.

October 2010 – OSHA releases guidelines for dealing with diacetyl in the workplace, along with a list of foods that contain the hazardous chemical.

August 2011 – The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends limiting short-term diacetyl exposure to five parts per billion as a time-weighted average during a 40-hour work week.

April 2014 – The FDA proposes new regulations for the e-cigarette industry, but fails to institute limits on e-cig advertising or on nicotine levels used in the devices.

August 2014 – The World Health Organization issues a report recommending that use of e-cigs be banned indoors, and all advertising discontinued until the electronic cigarette industry provides “convincing supporting scientific evidence and obtains regulatory approval.”

August 2014 – Deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s board of science, Ram Moorth, calls for “tighter controls” to “ensure [the use of e-cigs] does not undermine current tobacco control measures and reinforces the normalcy of smoking behavior.”

July 2015 – The FDA highlights a number of adverse events potentially linked to e-cigarettes, including an increased risk of pneumonia, seizure, disorientation, congestive heart failure and hypotension.

September 2015 – The CDC’S National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reports that “Current evidence points to diacetyl as one agent that can cause flavorings-related lung disease.”

E-Cig Side Effect Studies

August 2014 – The Journal of Environmental Science, Processes and Impacts publishes research indicating that the vapor emitted by e-cigs contains the toxic element chromium, as well as levels of nickel four times higher than in real tobacco. The devices also contain zinc, lead and other toxic metals, researchers report.

August 2014 – A report published by BBC indicates that e-cigarette liquid refills sold in the north east of England contained diacetyl, and the company that manufactured the refills immediately withdrew the liquid from the market, admitting that there are concerns about the safety of inhaling diacetyl.

April 2015 – The medical journal Tobacco Control publishes research indicating that the chemicals used to flavor electronic cigarettes may surpass safe levels, leading to respiratory irritation and other serious side effects for users.

December 2015 – A study published online in Environmental Health Perspectives examines 51 e-cig flavorings, including “Alien Blood” and “Cupcake,” and finds diacetyl and other potentially harmful chemicals linked to lung disease in 47 of them.

Why We Think E-Cig Manufacturers Should Be Held Liable for Popcorn Lung Side Effects

Critics have been voicing concerns for more than a decade about the health hazards associated with flavoring compounds like diacetyl, yet there are currently more than 7,000 varieties of flavored electronic cigarettes and nicotine-containing liquids used in refillable e-cig devices that may expose users to these potentially harmful chemicals on a daily basis. Furthermore, these flavored e-cigs don’t usually list the levels of specific chemicals that are present in the liquids, which means that users may have no idea that they are being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of diacetyl and other chemicals when “vaping.” Lawsuits brought against the makers of e-cigs over medical conditions like lung disease and popcorn lung in the future will likely involve allegations that the companies:

  • Designed, produced and promoted a defective product
  • Had a duty to protect the health and safety of consumers
  • Failed to adequately research the adverse effects of diacetyl exposure
  • Failed to provide adequate warnings to users and the medical community about the risk of lung disease associated with diacetyl exposure
  • Targeted younger users by offering e-cig flavors like “Cupcake,” “Cotton Candy,” and “Alien Blood”

What should you do? If you have been diagnosed with lung disease or “popcorn lung,” you should contact an attorney as possible as possible to discuss filing an e-cigarette lawsuit.

Since e-cigarettes were first introduced in 2004, their use among American teens and adults has skyrocketed. As of 2014, approximately 13% of U.S. high school students had used the devices at least once in the previous month, and as of mid-2015, about 10% of American adults are currently using e-cigs. These statistics are particularly alarming in light of the fact that research has linked diacetyl and other chemicals found in e-cigarette flavorings to a potential increased risk of popcorn lung and other severe lung conditions. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of e-cigarettes, consult a knowledgeable product liability lawyer today. You may have grounds to file an e-cig lawsuit against the device manufacturing company, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and medical bills.

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