The New York Times recently reported that a 17-year-old New York resident was the youngest of 23 people to succumb to the nationwide spread of vaping-related lung illnesses. He’s the first teenager to die though teenagers are among the largest group of people who use vaping as an alternative to cigarette smoking.

The Times also reported that a New Jersey resident died from the mysterious vaping-related lung illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state agencies are keeping data on this new scary development. The next youngest person to die, as of October 1, 2019, was 27. Nationwide, nearly 1,300 vaping illness have been reported.

The current research on vaping illnesses

Symptoms of the vaping lung illness are similar to flu and pneumonia. So far, health researchers have not pinpointed a single cause for the illness, but some marijuana products are believed to be possible causes.

The principal director for the CDC said recently that the illnesses were life-threatening and “called the proportion of patients hospitalized and in intensive care ‘just terrible.’” Statistically:

  • About 70% of the patients are male
  • About 80% are under 35
  • 16% are teenagers

The median age for vaping illness deaths is 50, so far.

A recent study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences found that 22.5% of mice who were exposed to E-cig smoke with nicotine for 54 weeks developed a form of lung cancer while none of the 20 mice who were exposed to E-cig smoke that did not have nicotine did not develop cancer. Over ½ of the mice exposed to E-cig smoke with nicotine developed bladder hyperplasia – a step toward abnormal tissue growth. Only 1 of 17 mice exposed to E-cig smoke without nicotine suffered the bladder disorder.

The researchers did acknowledge that the study had limitations and that direct comparisons to human cancer couldn’t be made. Rather, the studies confirm that more research is needed.

Current anti-vaping litigation

Some states and the federal administration have begun to ban the flavored e-cigarette pods that teenagers like. New York’s ban was recently blocked by a state appeals court because vaping advocates argue that vaping is useful in quitting smoking and because it would hurt sellers of the vaping products.

New York has also filed a federal lawsuit against 22 websites because they appeal to users under 21 even though tobacco and e-cigarette purchases under 21 are illegal. The lures include enticing names such as “Lemon Twist,” “Candy Cane,” “Cookie Butter,” “Fruity Loops” and “SaltNic Mighty Mint.” New York (and other states) also claim that the minors are being targeted because the vaping devices can easily be hidden from teachers and parents.

At Gainsberg Law, our lawyers have the experience and resources to hold makers of defective products accountable for the wrongful deaths, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income they cause. We work with professionals who understand the latest science about the items we use and consume. We hold manufacturers, distributors, and retailers accountable for the false promises they make about vaping devices. To speak with Chicago product liability lawyers respected by their peers and by the Chicago community, call us at 312-600-9585 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.