E-Cigarettes Lawsuit

Electronic cigarettes (aka “e-cigarettes” or “e-cigs”) are battery-powered devices made to mimic traditional cigarettes. They are often shaped like cigarettes or pipes, and work by heating a nicotine mixture called “e-liquid,” “e-juice,” or “vape juice.” The e-liquid vaporizes, and the user inhales, getting a buzz from the nicotine in the e-liquid. Smoking an e-cigarette is called “vaping.”

Most e-liquids contain some combination of nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavorings (which vary wildly).

Many have been shown to contain formaldehyde, which is more commonly used in industrial-strength resins and embalming fluids. Some flavorings include diacetyl, which infamously causes “Popcorn Lung,” a chronic, irreversible lung disease. Importantly, e-cigarette labels do not contain warnings about formaldehyde or diacetyl.

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E-cigarettes are exponentially more popular than they were ten years ago. It is now a $7 billion global industry made up of roughly 500 brands. (Some of the most popular brands include V2, Halo, VaporFi, and blu.) By some projections, e-cig sales could surpass conventional cigarettes’ by 2022.

Due to a rash of e-cigarette explosions (see below: “How Often Do E-Cigarettes Explode?”) caused by e-cigs’ volatile lithium-ion battery—the same kind found in hoverboards—and the links to lung disease mentioned above, many consumers are now filing lawsuits against e-cigarette companies, seeking rewards for physical, emotional, and financial injuries.

In October 2015, a California jury awarded Jennifer Ries $1.9 million after Ms. Ries suffered second degree burns from an exploding e-cig battery.

Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Traditional Cigarettes? 

Though some studies suggest that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes, they pose their own set of unique (and unknown) risks. In fact, some research indicates that e-cigarettes could be more dangerous than traditional ones. Because they have only been on the market for about a decade, there is no research on their long-term effects.

Three out of four vapers also smoke, which debunks the myth that segueing to vaping allows people to quit. Moreover, there have been dozens of e-cigarette explosions in recent years due to the volatility of the lithium-ion battery—the same kind of battery found in exploding hoverboards.

It wasn’t until May 2016 that the FDA announced it would begin regulating the e-cig industry. Given the lack of oversight over many years, the inadequate research, the questionable ingredients, and the volatile batteries, it’s hard to imagine that vaping is a “safer” form of anything. p0403-e-cigarette-poison

From September 2010 to February 2014, the number of e-cigarette-related calls to poison control centers skyrocketed, from just one call per month to 215. Over half the calls involved children under the age of five, many of whom had ingested the liquid nicotine found in the devices.

A January 2015 study in The New England Journal of Medicine determined that hidden formaldehyde in e-cigarettes makes the risk of developing cancer 5 to 15 times higher that of traditional cigarettes. Formaldehyde is most commonly used in industrial resins and as an embalming agent.

Last December, an Environmental Health Perspectives study found that many e-cigarettes do not disclose the presence of the flavoring chemical diacetyl, which has long been known as a respiratory hazard. Most infamously, diacetyl caused “Popcorn Lung” in microwave popcorn factory workers. (The name “Popcorn Lung” belies the fact that it is a serious, permanent affliction which sometimes requires lung transplants.) The study discovered diacetyl in 39 of the 51 flavors analyzed: nearly 80%.

The damning data grew this past February, when researchers found that e-cigarettes suppressed a whopping 358 immune genes—305 more than traditional cigarettes. These results suggest that e-cigs may render vapers more susceptible to disease, which is doubly troublesome given that they may also cause disease.

Do E-Cigarette Companies Target Children?

Yes. With fun, colorful flavors like Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy, Cupcake, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow, Sour Apple, and Goblin Goo (among countless others), e-cig companies target children and adolescents in their marketing with devastating efficiency. From 2013 to 2014, the number of middle and high schoolers who vape tripled.

How Often Do E-Cigarettes Explode?

Far too often. A rash of violent explosions and grisly injuries have cast sizable doubt on the safety of e-cigarettes. The ever-growing list of victims includes soccer star Danny Califf, who spent ten years as a defender for the L.A. Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC, and various European teams.

Mr. Califf’s attorney, Greg Bentley, says his client has been horribly disfigured by an e-cigarette that blew up in his face earlier this year. Mr. Califf allegedly suffered a broken cheekbone and was concussed after the cigarette’s lithium-ion battery shot through his cheek.

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These types of explosions, and the gruesome injuries that result, are becoming a common occurrence. On Easter Sunday, an e-cigarette exploded in a New Hampshire restaurant, burning the hands and face of its owner and hitting “another customer in a nearby booth in the chest, burning part of his shirt and pants,” according to the Sentinel Source. Shell-shocked witnesses described the explosion as a “fireball,” or akin to a fireworks display.

In February, an e-cigarette exploded in a Kentucky man’s pocket while he waited in line at a Shell gas station. The man was rushed to the hospital with second-degree burns. Around the same time, a Naples (Florida) woman’s car burst into flames after her e-cigarette exploded. She too was rushed to the nearest hospital for burn treatment.

The eruptions above—which occur because of the same kind of battery found in exploding hoverboards—are just the tip of the iceberg. There were at least 25 e-cig explosions between 2009 and 2014, at least a dozen more in 2015, and there have already been several in 2016. According to The Wall Street Journal, the FDA received 134 reports of vape-related fires and explosions from 2009 to January 2016.

As e-cigarettes’ popularity grows, and as more people come forward, these numbers will only rise.

What Types of Injuries Have Resulted from E-Cigarettes?

Unsurprisingly, the most common injuries suffered by vapers are lung-related. But e-cigarettes are also exploding with greater and greater frequency, so many vapers have also suffered burns, scars, and even amputated fingers.

Here are some of the injuries most often associated with e-cigarettes:

  • Popcorn Lung (coughing, shortness of breath)
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Breathing problems
  • Burns, scarring, or other injuries from e-cig explosion

What Types of Lawsuits Have People Filed Against Vape Companies?

Many of the lawsuits filed against e-cigarette companies are personal injury suits filed by people who had e-cigarettes explode in their mouth, hand, or pocket. Besides soccer star Danny Califf (see above: “How Often Do E-Cigarettes Explode?”), some of the most notable cases include:

  • A 17-year-old whose e-cigarette exploded in his pocket while in class at Clovis East High School. The teen is suing manufacturer Shenzhen IVPS Technology in a case that could establish a national precedent.
  • A Naples, Florida man named Evan Spahlinger, who suffered severe internal burns and was put into a medically induced coma after an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth, allegedly burning his mouth, face, throat, esophagus, and lungs, according to his attorney. Mr. Spahlinger says he has suffered permanent injuries. The cigarette was made by VapeAMP.
  • Three men in California whose e-cigarettes exploded late last year. (These were separate incidents, but the same attorney represents all three men.) The plaintiffs include Vicente Garza, whose e-cig exploded in bed and wound up costing Mr. Garza his left index finger. Mr. Garza is suing not just the manufacturer—the ironically named Flawless Vapes & Supplies, LLC—but the Bakersfield store that sold the e-cig to him, and the store that sold him the e-cigarette charger.

All of the above incidents have occurred in the past six months, and they only scratch the surface of the e-cigarette crisis.

Jury Awards $2 Million to Woman Burned by E-Cig Explosion

A nonprofit group called the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has filed a different type of suit against more than 60 e-cigarette companies for failing to warn consumers that their products contain formaldehyde and other chemicals that can cause lung disease. Under California law (Prop 65), companies must inform consumers if their products increase the risk of cancer and/or birth defects.

A California woman named Jennifer Cox filed a class action suit against vape company Cuttwood, LLC on similar grounds, saying she never would have bought their products had she known they contained such poisonous ingredients. Ms. Cox’s complaint states:

“Cuttwood’s warning label is misleading and deceptive because while it identifies nicotine as a chemical component, it does not provide a full list of other carcinogenic ingredients and other disease-causing substances.”

Because e-cigarettes carry a multitude of risks, they spur a number of different lawsuits. Even if a vaper has not (yet) been injured by an e-cigarette, he or she may want to file suit against a manufacturer for false advertising, or failing to warn of the dangers present in the product.

Those who have been injured seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional injury, etc. In October 2015, a California jury awarded Jennifer Ries $1.9 million after Ms. Ries suffered second degree burns from an exploding e-cig battery.

Who Is Eligible for a Lawsuit?

Anyone who has suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm as a result of vaping. Side effects for eligible parties may include the following:

  • Popcorn Lung (coughing, shortness of breath)
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Breathing problems
  • Burns, scarring, or other injuries from e-cig explosion

How Much Does It Cost?

At ClassAction.com, we will only collect if the case is successful. We accept a fixed percentage (typically one-third) of the recovery.

What Should I Look for in an Attorney?

Experience, ethics, and grit. Morgan & Morgan has never represented an insurance company or large corporation; that’s why our motto is “For the People.”

We have extensive experience with consumer litigation. As one of the largest consumer protection firms in the country–with 303 lawyers and a support staff of over 1,500–we are one of the few with the resources to take on the e-cigarette companies. We are trial lawyers who are not afraid to go up against big corporations, and we have the track record to prove it.

To date, we have won $2 billion for 200,000 clients.

What Is the First Step in Pursuing a Lawsuit?

Contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation case review. These lawsuits are time-sensitive, so it is crucial that you reach out to us as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation.