E-cigarette users sometimes view vaping as a safe alternative to traditional smoking, but the CDC has reported hundreds of lung injuries and multiple deaths associated with e-cigarette usage.
Not only are e-cigarettes unsafe, but they are especially dangerous to young people. There is also some evidence these companies have marketed their products to youth intentionally.
E-cigarettes are small electronic devices that produce an aerosol that users inhale. These usually contain nicotine. They also often come in sweet flavors like creme and mixed berry. People refer to using an e-cigarette as vaping. One of the largest e-cigarette companies is JUUL.
Inventors have been working on devices like e-cigarettes since the 60s, but one of the first modern e-cigarettes was invented by a Chinese man named Hon Lik in 2003, according to the CDC.
They also stated that e-cigarette use had risen dramatically among middle- and high-schoolers. In 2011, only 1.5% of high-schoolers had used an e-cigarette at least once in the past 30 days. In 2015, the number was 16%. In 2018, the number was 20.8% -- a total of more than 3 million students. For middle-schoolers, it was 4.9% in 2018 -- a total of 570,000 students having used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. For reference, only 8.1% of high-schoolers had smoked a cigarette in the last 30 days.
Are E-Cigarettes Safe?
E-cigarettes are not safe for youth and teens. While (according to DrugAbuse.gov) a majority of teens in 2016 said that e-cigarettes contain “just flavoring,” the reality is that most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive chemical. In fact, every JUUL e-cigarette pod contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes.
Nicotine is not safe for youth to consume. The Surgeon General stated that, “Nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm the developing brain – which continues to develop until about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can impact learning, memory, and attention. Using nicotine in adolescence can also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs. In addition to nicotine, the aerosol that users inhale and exhale from e-cigarettes can potentially expose both themselves and bystanders to other harmful substances, including heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and ultra-fine particles that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs.”
Additionally, DrugAbuse.gov reported that, “Teen e-cig users are more likely to start smoking.”
So, e-cigarettes are not safe for teens, but are they safe for adults?
The top of JUUL’s website reads, “This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.” Likewise, they encourage nonsmokers not to use their product, saying, “We believe that these alternatives are not appropriate for people who do not already smoke.”
The CDC has also reported deaths and injuries associated with vaping. DrugAbuse.gov said that, “A study of some e-cigarette products found the vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, as well as potentially toxic metal nano-particles from the device itself.”
So e-cigarette are not completely safe, but are they as harmful as normal cigarettes? Or are they a safer alternative?
JUUL markets itself as an alternative to smoking, a product smokers can switch to that’s safer than a traditional cigarette. According to their website, their goal is “improving the lives of the world's one billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes.” They encourage smokers to switch to their product, but they encourage nonsmokers not to use it.
The Surgeon General agreed that, “For adults, e-cigarettes may have the potential to reduce risk for current smokers if they completely transition from cigarettes to e-cigarettes,” but he qualified this saying, “however, a majority of adults who use e-cigarettes also smoke cigarettes. Moreover, a 2018 National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report concluded that there was moderate evidence that e-cigarette use increases the frequency and intensity of cigarette smoking in the future.”
The CDC said, “While e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking.”
E-cigarettes are also not safe for pregnant women. They can cause a lot of harm to developing babies.
Can E-Cigarettes Explode?
E-cigarettes can explode in some circumstances. People have been badly injured or killed because of this according to CNN. The FDA gave several safety tips such as:
- Use a device with safety features
- Keep loose batteries in a case to prevent them from coming into contact with metal such as coins and keys in your pocket.
- Do not charge your device overnight or leave it unattended
- Do not charge your device with a tablet or phone charger, but instead use the charger that it came with.
- And more
Do E-Cigarette Companies Market to Youth?
The JUUL website has pictures of adults using their products, not kids, and has a large section about Youth Prevention where it discusses multiple strategies to prevent teens from using their product. It asks users whether they’re 21 before they can access the site.
Some of JUUL’s advertisements, however, look much more suspicious. Check this article from The New York Times. The ads feature flashy colors and young models.
According to the New York Times, “While the campaign wasn’t targeted specifically at teenagers, a former senior manager said that he and others in the company were well aware it could appeal to them.”
E-cigarettes are not a safe product, especially for youth and pregnant women. If you or someone you love has been harmed by an e-cigarette, talk to a doctor then contact the personal injury attorneys at Bart Durham Injury Law. We will help you file a lawsuit and claim compensation. Our initial consultation is always free and you pay nothing until we win.