With more than 2,500 cases and 54 deaths as of December 2019, the vaping outbreak and the dangerous fallout for patients is tragically alive and well. And for families, that means more fighting against major medical problems—and more time waiting for answers as to how this happened.
With the CDC providing ongoing information on the outbreak, we’d like to provide a few baseline facts to help you find your footing in a sea of information. Here, we’ll provide a quick overview of key facts provided by the CDC on the outbreak and an additive recently identified as a potential player in the outbreak.
First, a review of the basics.
The outbreak is centered around electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes, vapes, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). They come in many shapes and sizes, from a pen to a USB drive, but most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold liquid, as the delivery system relies on heating liquid to produce an aerosol which users inhale into their lungs.
In 2016, the FDA finalized a rule which extended CTP regulatory authority over all tobacco products, including ENDS that meet the definition of a tobacco product, including the manufacture, production, import, export, packaging, advertising, and sale of ENDS components and parts. This means that the FDA regulates:
That said, FDA regulation of the vaping industry is nowhere near as extensive as the larger tobacco industry, meaning that many vaping products reach the market without the FDA’s eye.
This means that the content of vaping products, including vaping liquids, varies widely between products. Many liquids, for example, contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana) and nicotine, but the percentage varies between products, and other components used as additives vary based on the company making them.
One identified commonality among vaping injury cases is vitamin E acetate, a synthetic form of vitamin E, which is used as an additive in many e-cigarette or vaping products which contain THC.
Vitamin E is a commonly used vitamin found in vitamin supplements, vegetable oils, meats, fruits, and vegetables. It’s a common addition to skin products, especially skin creams used to reduce scar tissue. When ingested as food or absorbed through the skin, it’s entirely safe.
It is not safe to inhale. When inhaled into the lungs as vapor, it returns to its original state (sticky and honey-like) and becomes trapped in the lungs, interfering with lung function.
Worse? It has been identified as a chemical of major concern in vaping products.
If you or a loved one used vaping products and are now struggling to recover from major injury, it’s important to know that even though the CDC and FDA investigations of the outbreak are ongoing, you have options to hold vaping companies accountable.
The personal injury attorneys at Giroux Amburn have extensive experience taking on big companies, and we’ve won millions for our clients all over the state and across the country. But more than that, our approach is based on one simple premise: respect. We treat every client as we would treat our own families, because we know that in your most trying times, you need someone who’s truly on your side.
If you need to speak with an attorney about your options and next steps, get in touch today to schedule your free consultation.