Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was dealing with an emergency that has now been overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. The emergency was e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury, now commonly referred to as EVALI. If you will remember, this illness developed fairly suddenly and seemed to effect those who used e-cigarettes or other vaping devices. While this illness dominated headlines for several months, the coronavirus pandemic has taken center stage. Now, experts are saying that those who use vaping devices may be more prone to contracting COVID-19.
Additions to the JUUL vaping lawsuits
School districts and parents across the country have filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc. and other companies. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and medical monitoring “to allow for timely treatment and prevention of exasperation of injuries,” allegedly caused by their product.
Now, an amended complaint has been filed in the San Francisco district court to include claims about COVID-19, which has already affected more than 1.3 million people in the United States. According to the amended complaint, “JUUL users are also at greater risk of suffering more serious complications if they contract the coronavirus.”
Anyone who has already filed a case against Juul or other vaping companies regarding the dangers of their products will automatically have their case updated to reflect the new coronavirus risk. Those who are involved in lawsuits and have subsequently been diagnosed with COVID-19 should alert their attorney immediately.
Does vaping create additional risks concerning COVID-19?
When hundreds of people began showing up in hospitals with a mysterious yet life-threatening injury in the summer and fall of 2019, doctors were able to trace the issue back to vaping products. Eventually, the CDC linked most EVALI cases to contamination of Vitamin E acetate.
The concern now is that those who use JUUL and other vaping products may be put at a higher risk of serious complications if they contract COVID-19. According to a spokesperson with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “People with underlying health issues, such as heart or lung problems, may have increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19.” The spokesperson told Bloomberg News that “This includes people who smoke and/or vape tobacco or nicotine-containing products. E-cigarettes can damage lung cells.”
Dr. Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, said that “Vaping, like smoking, depresses immune function in your lungs.”
Juul Labs has come under fire from consumers across the country who say that they failed to warn about dangerous side effects of their products, which can include popcorn lung, nicotine poisoning, and nicotine addiction. Juul Labs has also faced intense criticism for its marketing tactics, with governmental agencies saying that they purposely targeted young people in their ads and through the use of flavors in their products.
Vaping and smoking and the coronavirus risks
Right now, we do not have extensive studies about how JUUL products or other vaping products affect those who contract COVID-19. However, we do know that vaping likely causes much more damage than previously realized. According to the CDC, those with weakened immune systems, heart disease, and lung illnesses have a much higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying due to COVID-19. Over time, we will see how significantly COVID-19 changes the dynamic of the lawsuits against Juul Labs, Inc. If you or somebody you love has contracted COVID-19, and you think that using JUUL products has worsened the illness, you may need to contact our Orange County personal injury attorneys and seek legal assistance for your case.