Juul, one of the most prominent e-cigarette companies in the United States, is facing multiple lawsuits for engaging in predatory marketing practices and producing dangerous products. The production of these defective e-cigarettes has caused multiple physical and mental health problems for many teenagers.
What are the physical health problems caused by vaping?
According to data presented by the American Thoracic Society 2021 International Conference, vaping has been linked to higher odds of developing asthma and suffering from asthma attacks. In a recent study where 17,190 people ages 12 and up were asked to participate in a CCHS survey, 3.1 percent of people who confessed to using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days.
The odds of developing asthma increased by 19 percent for people who used e-cigarettes. These numbers were similar to the odds for current smokers, who were found to have a 20 percent chance of developing asthma. Former smokers were discovered to have a 33 percent chance of developing asthma, while people who never smoked or never used vapes had no significant associations with asthma.
Another physical condition linked to vaping is the appearance of a severe lung disease known as e-cigarette, or vaping product, use-associated lung injury, or EVALI. In February of 2020, there were 2,807 confirmed cases and 68 deaths from the development of this type of disease. National and state data collected from patient reports and product sample testing found that e-cigarettes that contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were linked to most of the EVALI cases and were the catalyst for the outbreak.
What effect does vaping have on teens’ mental health?
The recent study also discovered that vaping was linked not only to physical health issues for teenagers, but mental health issues as well. Though the results do not prove that poor mental health is a side effect of e-cigarette use, the data from the study indicated an association between higher levels of stress and anxiety and e-cigarette use.
Fifteen percent of survey participants who engaged in vaping reported fair to poor mental health, compared to the seven percent who did not vape. Participants who used e-cigarettes were discovered to have 60 percent higher odds of self-reported levels of life stress compared to participants who did not use e-cigarettes. Although vaping may not cause stress, vape cravings appear to be triggers of stress and anxiety for e-cigarette users. These types of triggers make it difficult for e-cigarette users to quit, especially during a pandemic when stress and anxiety is already common.
Aren’t e-cigarettes safer than traditional cigarettes?
They are supposed to be. The propound damage caused by smoking traditional cigarettes is well-documented. Over time, they cause irreparable damage to the lungs and can affect the heart, as well. When e-cigarettes were first introduced to the market in 2003, the initial purpose of the device was to help smokers either reduce their limit of smoking or quit smoking altogether.
However, there are certain contradictory characteristics about e-cigs themselves that cast doubt on their safety and efficacy. One characteristic is the classification of the products.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies electronic cigarettes and vapes as tobacco products. This could be because of the amount of nicotine found in the refills of certain devices is equivalent to a pack of 20 cigarettes. While e-cigs do eliminate tar, they do not eliminate nicotine or other dangerous chemicals.
Another characteristic of e-cigarettes that is contradictory to its original purpose is the attraction of vaping toward youth. Because e-cigarettes are classified as tobacco products, these products should not even be marketed towards individuals under the age of 21. Yet, vaping has become the most popular form of tobacco use among teenagers.
Finally, some vapes allow users to mix-and-match the liquids they use. As such, the devices can be used for using illegal substances, too.
Why e-cigarettes like Juul pose a specific risk to children
A large reason for vaping’s increasing popularity amongst youth is due to the unethical marketing practices executed by Juul. The company’s internal documents revealed that the company used trade secrets from Big Tobacco to help market their vaping products to children as young as eight. This disastrous combination of unethical marketing practices and defective e-cigarettes has resulted in children and teenagers suffering from several types of health problems caused by vaping.
As of July 15, 2021, there are 2,300 lawsuits pending against the company: and that’s just in the state of California. There are 39 other states that are currently investigating the company, with North Carolina leading the charge. After the state of North Carolina filed a lawsuit against Juul for its integral role in sparking the vaping epidemic in youth through its sketchy business practices, the company agreed to pay $40 million to settle the lawsuit in June of this year.