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Products Liability Blog Post

Safety of Electronic Cigarettes — Smoke and Mirrors

Manufacturers market electronic cigarettes — more popularly referred to as e-cigarettes or e-cigs — as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco-containing products. The battery-operated mechanism allows users to inhale a nicotine vapor that does not release smoke, as a cigarette would. The e-cigs are all the rage amongst teens, young adults and an older generation of past smokers.

Makers of the vapor inhalers assert that their products assist in smoking cessation and prevent children from starting in the first place. Also, according to e-cig makers, nonsmokers are not subject to the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke. However, the safety claims about the smokeless product may merely be smoke and mirrors.

Actually, e-cigarettes may have serious health consequences:

  • E-cigs contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals that can increase breathing difficulties in people using the product and those nearby.
  • Most jurisdictions do not yet ban sale of the product to minors, despite the evidence of potential health problems.
  • By including such flavors as chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, the manufacturers encourage teens to buy their products. 
  • People in the vicinity, including young children, are subject to secondhand vapors
  • The liquid nicotine used to fill the device is typically not stored in childproof containers, so children can ingest hazardous levels of the drug.
  • Because there are no set standards, heat levels of the device and potency of the liquid nicotine are dangerously inconsistent.
  • Many of the products available in the U.S. market are made in China, where manufacturing rules are lax.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a study that found numbers of e-cig-related calls to poison control centers increased from one per month in September 2010 to 215 each month in February 2014. More than half of these calls involved children under five years old.

Despite the lack of tobacco, many medical professionals and lawmakers want the device regulated under the same guidelines as tobacco and other dangerous products. In the meantime, the public remains unaware of the risks to themselves and to their children of using e-cigarettes.

You may have a cause of action if you or your child suffered harm because of an e-cigarette product. Consult with a Southern California products liability lawyer about your rights.

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2550 Fifth Avenue, 11th Floor
San Diego, California, 92103-6612 USA