Many people have taken up using e-cigarettes, or “vaping,” for the portability, ability to smoke indoors (where traditional cigarettes are banned), to enjoy the variety of flavors, and to avoid the consequences of smoking traditional cigarettes.
However, e-cigarettes, although marketed as a modern and safer alternative to cigarettes, can still be dangerous. One such danger is the risk of inhaling toxic metals.
The heat of an e-cigarette is provided by a metal coil that warms up when the user inhales and transforms the flavored liquid into an aerosol. That metal coil has turned out to be the source of dangerous hard metals that can contaminate the vapor as the coil heats. Metals that can be released from the coil include cobalt, nickel, aluminum, manganese, lead, and chromium.
Injuries Due to Toxic Metals in E-Cigarettes
NBC News reported that an otherwise healthy woman in her 40s was admitted to the hospital complaining of lung problems. Doctors thought at first it was a case of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury). On examining her lung tissue under a microscope, however, they found the damage was due to metals from the heated coil.
This was a disease formerly only seen in industrial workers and known as “hard-metal lung disease” or “hard-metal pneumoconiosis.” It causes cells in the lungs to grow and encompass other cells, causing giant cells that create a distinctive pattern under a microscope. It can cause permanent scarring and damage to the lungs, as well as lifelong medical problems.
NBC News has reported over 2,000 cases of vaping-related illnesses with respiratory symptoms, but this metal toxicity is a new and frightening development. Vaping marijuana is particularly risky. It requires heating the e-cigarette coil to a much higher temperature in order to activate the THC in the oil, thus causing the coil to release more of the hard metals and greatly increasing the risk of lung injury.
The lung inflammation caused by hard metal inhalation will probably not be detected until the damage has become irreversible.
Options for Injured Victims in Denver
Vaping is a relatively new trend that has become very popular, but has not been thoroughly tested for safety. Recently, according to IFLScience, the European Respiratory Journal has called for more rigorous testing on vape products. It believes that they should undergo the same testing procedures as pharmaceutical drugs, since they can have such devastating medical consequences. Until then, many more such injuries may occur.
Initial symptoms of “hard-metal lung disease” include shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing, identical to other respiratory issues caused by vaping. Only a close examination of the lung tissue will reveal if the disease is present. Users who experience these symptoms should seek medical help as soon as possible, and prepare to seek legal compensation for the damage caused by these insufficiently tested products.
Contact Olson Law Firm, LLC, for Your Vaping Injury Case
If you suspect you have had an injury or sickness caused by e-cigarettes, you need an experienced legal team on your side. Contact Olson Law Firm, LLC now for help with your e-cigarette injury lawsuit by filling out the online contact form, using our live chat feature, or calling our office in Golden, Denver, or Cheyenne, WY.