Recently, the Ministry of Health has been considering a ban on marketing of e-cigarretes and complete ban on sales of flavored e-cigarette devices. Some argue that this action will only increase the number of cigarette smokers. But you only need to look at the situation in the United States to see that vaping may not be as safe as you think. In fact, the most popular brand of e-cigarettes were temporarily banned in 2018 because the Health Ministry says it poses “a grave risk to public health.” The company’s “pods” at the time had a higher-than-normal concentration of nicotine – more than 20 mg per ml. Juul has since started selling lower concentration devices that are not covered by the ban.
Now, a new lawsuit is claiming that Juul knowingly shipped out 1 million contaminated nicotine pods to customers. The lawsuit was filed by Siddharth Breja, who claims to have been fired after opposing company practices. Legal experts note this lawsuit comes at a perilous time for Juul Labs, one of the largest e-cigarette manufacturers in the world. “Juul is fighting off a firestorm of legal and regulatory scrutiny caused by surging teen nicotine addiction rates and the lung disease epidemic tied to vaping and e-cigarettes,” says Tsion Chudnovsky, a U.S. product liability attorney.
“If the company did intentionally ship out contaminated products, it would be an indication of willful negligence. That would inflame regulators and expose Juul to potentially devastating punitive damages,” according to Chudnovsky
The lawsuit doesn’t provide any details of the contamination or how it occurred. However, Breja claims that when he brought up the contamination problem, former Juul CEO Kevin Burns said, “Half our customers are drunk and vaping…Who… is going to notice the quality of our pods?” Burns, of course, denies ever saying those words. Beja also claims that his supervisor told him that “stockholders would lose significant personal wealth should he make his concerns public.” Breja’s claims seem to indicate that the company put profits above safety, which is concerning even if e-cigarette liquids and pods are considered “safe.”
Contaminated pods aren’t the only things plaguing the vaping industry; people are dying from e-cigarettes. I’ve read horror stories of people – mostly young people – having e-cigarettes explode during use. These explosions cause serious injuries or death.
On a larger scale, vaping has also been linked to the recent outbreak of a mysterious lung disease in the United States. So far, more than 2,000 cases have been reported, and at least 39 people have died. The disease is being called EVALI, which stands for “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to confirm the cause of the outbreak, but the investigation is ongoing. It is a possibility that vitamin E acetate is the culprit, as it was detected in all 29 lung tissue samples from patients.
The CDC is now recommending that people stop vaping until they can determine the cause of the outbreak. The problem with e-cigarettes and the whole vaping trend is that we still don’t know their long-term effects.
To make matters worse, the trend has caught on in the U.S. among teens and young adults. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of middle school and high school students who used e-cigarettes increased by 1.5 million. The large increase in teen vaping has prompted California to file a different lawsuit against Juul Labs. The government’s suit alleges Juul targeted young people with advertising, but failed to warn about the health risks of using e-cigarettes with nicotine.
The lawsuit alleges e-cigarette firms developed flavors such as cool mint, crème brûlée, cucumber and mango that appeal to young smokers. The rate of California high school students who have vaped has surged from 11.7% in 2017 to 27.5% in 2019.
Do we really want our youths addicted to vaping? Yes, smoking is still a problem in Israel – and everywhere else in the world. But we know the effects of cigarettes, and we can continue to educate the youth on its dangers. We still don’t know all of the effects of vaping. Why take the risk?