Although many have claimed that e-cigarettes work to decrease a person’s overall chances of smoking, a study that was recently published in the Pediatrics journal has put forth strong evidence to the contrary. The national study was the first of its kind, and shows that children who were not at risk for becoming smokers are now being drawn to the potentially deadly habit because of the presence of e-cigarettes on the market. In addition to this, e-cigarettes also pose the serious risk of explosion, putting consumers at danger for other types of serious injuries.
One of the study’s authors noted that e-cigarettes do not discourage American youth from smoking, but do quite the opposite, instead encouraging them to pick up the addictive, life-threatening habit. It was not until just last year that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented its one standing regulation on e-cigarettes, disallowing people under the age of 18 from purchasing them. Other than that regulation, e-cigarettes are not regulated under any other federal safety guidelines.
The study compiled information from 2004 to 2014, including nearly 150,000 students of middle and high school age. Many previously conducted studies on cigarette smoking have shown when a child uses e-cigarettes that their chance of becoming a conventional cigarette smoker increases three-fold. The Pediatrics study showed that the overall use of tobacco products, including both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, has increased amongst kids throughout middle and high school. Furthermore, the data collected illustrated that although cigarette-smoking rates may have decreased overall, but that the use of e-cigarettes did not act as a contributing force. This means that for the kids who are using e-cigarettes today, their chances of becoming a full-blown cigarette smoker at some point in life have gone up.
Conventional knowledge on cigarette smoking has shown that for children who live with a current smoker, often wear clothing that is marked with tobacco company logos or admit that they would try cigarettes if a friend offered them one is the most at-risk group for developing the habit in the future. But, the information that the study revealed shows that the children who are choosing to use e-cigarettes do not fall in any part of this accepted at-risk category: this means that they are an entirely new demographic.
This new population of potential e-cigarette users was not as likely to use nicotine products before the e-cigarette came on the market. In other words, it is possible that the very creation of e-cigarettes has initiated a new class of children who will become future nicotine users, putting their health and lives at serious risk.
The risks attributed to nicotine and smoking are deadly at worst, and quite serious at best. Smoking causes respiratory diseases, like chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and emphysema. It can also trigger asthma attacks. Nicotine alone contributes to the risk of developing a smoker’s cough, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.
In addition to these serious, often fatal problems that cigarettes and e-cigarettes pose to their users, e-cigarettes themselves as a product are incredibly dangerous. A man in New York recently suffered a serious burn when the e-cigarette he was carrying exploded in his pocket. His leg, hand and thigh had third-degree burns. And, just months ago, another e-cigarette user lost teeth and had a hole ripped through his tongue because his e-cigarette blew up. There are other stories like these: a teenager suffered serious burns to his face when his friend’s e-cigarette exploded near him, and a man at a gas station was shown with his leg on fire for the exact same reason.
Although smoking rates were falling prior to the existence of e-cigarettes, one cannot help but wonder if this new type of product will only act to take the place of conventional cigarette products. This is particularly concerning because of the lack of regulations in place from the FDA. Although a consumer must be 18 to purchase e-cigarettes, other regulations do not yet exist. This means that manufacturers are not under substantial rules for how to safely produce the product and protect consumers.
Cancer research centers have put forth evidence that e-cigarettes can actually contain up to four times more nicotine than conventional cigarettes. This means that their attributed risks include throat and mouth cancers as well as heart disease. Additionally, because they are not regulated products other chemicals, such as formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents, can be put into them. These agents can interact with other chemicals in particularly dangerous ways when they are heated, and are thought to be able to cause cancer perhaps up to fifteen times more than conventional cigarette products.
E-cigarettes have not only acted to create a new at-risk group of nicotine users amongst American adolescents, but pose other, serious risks to a person’s physical safety due to their risk of explosion. Without regulations in place to monitor the way in which the product is chemically created and manufactured consumers, as well as bystanders, will remain seriously endangered.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Help Those Injured by Defective Products
If you, a family member or friend have been injured by an e-cigarette, please see a doctor or go to a hospital. In order to determine whether you have a right to compensation for your injuries from this product, please call the knowledgeable Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger, LLP. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form at www.galfandberger.com.