More Young People Are Becoming Ill Due to Vaping, and E-Cigarettes May Be to Blame
The number of people (especially adolescents) using e-cigarettes and vaping products has soared across the United States in recent years. Likewise, so has the number of lung illnesses associated with these products.
According to the American Public Health Association, more than eight percent of lifetime e-cigarette users in 2014 started at the age of 14 or younger. That rate has tripled to nearly 30 percent by 2018.
As of December 17, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a total of 2,506 hospitalizations across the entire U.S. caused by e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI). Fifty-four deaths were reported across 27 states and the District of Columbia. EVALI symptoms often include fatigue, coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Vaping among El Paso youth
According to the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department, there were 16 cases of children ages 10-16 caught possessing THC vaping products in 2017. That number rose to 40 cases in 2018, but in 2019, approximately 248 cases were reported. This marks a 1,450 percent increase within the two-year period.
Among the devices and products El Paso youth were caught with, Juul was one of them. Juul is an e-cigarette company based in San Francisco and is one of the biggest players in the vaping market.
The company has recently come under fire for its marketing practices — particularly aimed at young people. A Federal Trade Commission investigation of Juul found that the company paid significantly more on ads targeting young people than on ads aimed at adults over the age of 30.
In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accused the company of misleading the public by promoting its products as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. The company was also warned that it could face fines and product seizures. In addition, the FDA investigated the company’s use of nicotine salts, which are purported to be safe, allowing for higher consumption.
Juul e-cigarettes and vaping products are convenient for younger people. They often use these products without getting caught. That’s because, according to a Time, they’re small, easy to hide, and can be mistaken for flash drives. Moreover, they can be used quickly and don’t leave behind any detectable odors.
U.S. Surgeon General warns youth
Nicotine and THC are hazardous enough to the health of children and teens. Other substances found in vaping products, however, can lead to serious illness, deaths, and even inhibit brain development in people under age 25. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, these include:
- Small particles that can be breathed into the lungs
- A flavorant called diacetyl, which has reportedly caused many lung diseases
- Volatile organic compounds, which are released as gases and can cause adverse health conditions
- Tin, nickel, lead, and other heavy metals
It’s critical that parents and school faculty get involved in deterring adolescents from using e-cigarette and vaping products. Possession of vaping products result in serious illnesses. It can also land young people in trouble in the state of Texas. If your child has sustained EVALI or any other illness caused by vaping, it’s important that you explore your legal options with an experienced attorney.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC will investigate and find out if your child’s access to vaping products was the result of marketing or illicit sales by a distributor. To find out how we can help you, contact us online. We offer free case evaluations.