E-cigarettes: What’s the Harm?
When e-cigarettes first appeared on the market in 2007, they were marketed as a safe alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. Hopes soared, and millions switched to “vaping,” as smoking e-cigarettes is called. If you were having trouble quitting smoking, e-cigarettes were an answered prayer for you. Somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 million people now enjoy vaping.
But now that it’s 2015, certain dangers are coming to light. The sweet taste and flavors of some of the nicotine fluids used with e-cigarettes can make vaping more attractive than smoking cigarettes to teens and even pre-teens. It’s known that nicotine is a real danger to normal brain development in teens and pre-teens. Not only that, some of the nicotine liquids used contain harmful chemicals. And—believe it or not—e-cigarettes can explode.
E-cigarettes use lithium-ion batteries inside a cylinder. The electrical charge vaporizes the nicotine liquid, enabling it to be inhaled. Sounds simple, right?
But the problem is that these batteries sometimes overheat and blow up, often while they are charging. Just days ago, the US Department of Transportation issued a ban on flyers packing them in checked luggage. In fact, the new ruling forbids putting any battery-operated smoking device in checked luggage, as well as prohibiting the charging of these devices on the plane (though they can be brought in carryon luggage). There have been over 26 fires and related incidents involving these batteries in checked luggage during the last two years.
The hazards don’t stop there. A 2014 report from FEMA mentioned 25 explosions and fires involving e-cigarettes from 2009 through August, 2014. While no deaths have been reported with exploding e-cigarettes, serious burns and injuries have occurred:
- In July, 2015, a young man from Destin, FL, had to be airlifted to the University of Alabama’s Burn Unit in Birmingham after his e-cigarette blew up while he was smoking it, causing him severe facial and mouth injuries.
- In March, 2013, a California woman’s e-cigarette exploded while she was charging it in her car, creating serious burns on her legs. Recently she was awarded $1.9 million in a suit brought against the e-cigarette’s distributor.
The FDA has proposals in the works to regulate e-cigarettes. Currently, they are unregulated.
If you vape and you have small children in the house, you should be concerned. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), over 3,700 children were exposed to liquid nicotine in 2014. One toddler died in New York after drinking the fluid. As little as a single teaspoon is deadly, and lesser amounts require an emergency room visit.
Certain flavored varieties of liquid nicotine can also harm you because of the chemicals used to flavor the liquid. Diacetyl won’t harm you if you eat it, but it is not okay to inhale it. Diacetyl, and its chemical relative, 2,3-pentanedione, can both cause permanent lung damage. If you vape, keep this in mind the next time you are searching for a tasty formulation.
Don’t Forget About the Great American Smokeout!
Quitting smoking can be quite difficult. However, not smoking or vaping is the safest and healthiest choice you can make. We at McNeely Stephenson hope you’ll consider quitting on November 19, during the Great American Smokeout.
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Have you or a loved one been injured while using a product? If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure.
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