Vaping nicotine is often touted as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes are extremely dangerous and extremely addictive. In recent years, use has exploded among middle and high school students.
Keep reading to learn why the U.S. Surgeon General has declared underage vaping an epidemic, how to talk to your kids about the dangers of vaping, and what to do if you or a loved one are injured by these combustible products.
Youth Vaping Is an Epidemic in the United States
Teens across the country have become fascinating with the vaping craze, with JUUL electronic cigarettes among the most popular brand. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, use of e-cigarettes among high-school children rose by 78% in 2018 — an increase of 1.5 million young people. As stated above, the U.S. Surgeon General considers vaping an epidemic, as more than 3.6 million middle and high school students are using e-cigarettes.
JUUL Marketing Targets Young People
E-cigarettes, and JUUL in particular, were supposedly intended to act as resources for adults who wanted to quit smoking cigarettes but were still addicted to nicotine. However, JUUL’s early marketing targeted younger users by using bold colors, minimal design elements, and attractive 20-something models — all of which was reminiscent of the early days of cigarette marketing campaigns. Additionally, JUUL launched influencer marketing efforts on social media that popularized “JUULing” and helped make it into the sensation it is today.
E-Cigarettes Are Not Safe (No Matter What They Say)
Many young people who were not smokers before using JUUL are unaware of the amount of nicotine they’re consuming with their new addiction — or that they are consuming nicotine at all. However, this new generation of young smokers commonly vape the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day in nicotine, creating a dangerous dependence during a critical period of brain development. Additionally, the chemicals in e-cigarettes, which are essentially nicotine delivery vehicles, can cause dangerous health conditions like bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lung,” which damages the lungs and causes a persistent cough and difficulty breathing.
E-Cigarettes Like JUUL Can Explode
In addition to the health risks and dangers of developing a lifetime addiction, JUUL and other e-cigarette brands are dangerous objects in and of themselves. When the battery and heating units in e-cigarettes overheat, they can cause the device to explode — often when the user is inhaling, causing serious permanent burns to the hands and face.
Discuss E-Cigarette Safety With Your Teenager
Having open and honest conversations with your teenager is the best way to protect them from the dangers of e-cigarettes.
- Know the Facts: Understand the risks of e-cigarette — from burns to the risk of lifetime addiction — and share them with your child.
- Have the Conversation: Having serious discussions with teenagers about addiction, lifelong illnesses, and potential serious injuries can be challenging, but being honest and direct about your concerns is the first step to keeping your children safe.
- Set Expectations: If you want to keep your children safe, you need to set expectations early and follow through with the stated consequences.
- Be a Good Role Model: If you’re asking your child not to smoke or vape, then you should be a positive role model and follow your own good advice. Setting a model standard can go a long way toward ensure your children refrain as well.
- Social Media Is Not Reality: Social media is a live-feed highlight reel for young people, who often struggle separating fiction from reality. Remind your kids that most of what they see on social media related to e-cigarettes isn’t real — but the consequences of vaping are.
E-Cigarette Victims Have Rights
When e-cigarettes explode, victims have the right to seek justice in a court of law, but achieving that justice can be challenging due to the numerous complex factors that influence these claims. Product liability and insurance cases can be extremely difficult to navigate on your own, but hiring an experienced product liability attorney who knows the ins and outs of e-cigarette explosion claims can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
Phelan Petty: Fighting for Virginia E-Cigarette Victims
If you, your child, or someone you know has suffered because of a defective JUUL or e-cigarette, the victim is likely eligible for compensation. At Phelan Petty, we fight hard for people who have been harmed by dangerous products, so please contact us today by calling (804) 980-7100 or completing this brief form.
(2019, March 19). JUUL E-Cigarettes: Fueling a Youth Epidemic. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Retrieved from https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what-we-do/industry-watch/e-cigarettes
Stein, R. (2018, December 18). Surgeon General Warns Youth Vaping Is Now An ‘Epidemic’. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/18/677755266/surgeon-general-warns-youth-vaping-is-now-an-epidemic
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
Michael Phelan is a Virginia trial attorney who practices with a special focus on traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases, pharmaceutical and medical device claims, product liability cases, and truck accidents. Michael’s peers have consistently recognized him for his excellence as a trial lawyer, and his clients have praised him for his commitment to deep research, his outstanding communication skills, and his sincerity and dedication.