E-Cigarette Warnings and Lawsuits
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What Are E-Cigarettes?
An electronic cigarette, or "e-cigarette," is a cigarette shaped, battery powered smoking device. It simulates smoking an actual cigarette, but uses a liquid substance instead of tobacco. The liquid substance is vaporized, allowing the user to blow out what appears to be smoke, but is actually simply vapor. The liquid substance typically contains several chemicals, and may or may not contain nicotine.
Are E-Cigarettes Safe?
The safety of these devices is currently unclear. While some evidence suggests they are safer than cigarettes, there are serious concerns over the purity of and types of ingredients used in the liquid substance. Since this technology is new, any long-term biological issues are unknown.
While overall safety is yet to be determined, it is worth noting that the FDA has received over 50 complaints related to e-cigarettes, and is getting pressure to being regulating this product similar to how it regulates tobacco. Finally, just because smoke it not being emitted does not mean chemicals are not being ingested or released. Studies indicate that the aerosol released from the e-cigarette vapors can have tin, nickel, other metals and a variety of toxic substances.
What Are The Legal Issues Surrounding E-Cigarettes?
Major legal issues surrounding electronic cigarettes include:
- Inadequate Warning: One of the main legal issues surrounding e-cigarettes will be an inadequate warning. An inadequate warning occurs where the manufacturer, seller, or retailer (or potentially all three) advertized and sold a product with an inadequate warning. Since the rise of their popularity several years ago, these devices have been touted as "safer" than cigarettes. Even if that may be true to some degree, if the manufacturers did not adequately warn of all the dangers potentially associated with e-cigarettes, they may nonetheless be liable.
- Consumer Protection: Similar to inadequate warnings, consumer protection groups may not only be lobbying for tighter regulations, but also potentially filing lawsuits under deceptive business practices and false advertising. These claims are difficult to establish, and more evidence surrounding the safety of these products and the knowledge manufactures had or should have had.
- Negligence: Someone who suffers serious health problems as a consequence of using e-cigarettes may be able to seek compensation under a negligence theory. Negligence requires the injured party to show that the defendant's breach of duty caused an injury to the plaintiff. Thus, placing a dangerous product for sale that was dangerous or untested may expose these manufacturers to negligence lawsuits.
Should I Seek Legal Advice?
If you have been using e-cigarettes and have developed health issues, you should speaking with a personal injury lawyer immediately. This is a novel product, and an experienced lawyer will know how to best construct a lawsuit.
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Last Modified: 06-03-2014 04:55 PM PDT
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