In December 2019, Congress
banned the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes to anyone under age 21. This
legislative action was a response to the high use of e-cigarettes, especially
those flavored products, by teenagers and young adults, as well as the high
number of cases diagnosed as product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). Many argued
that the current ban was not enough and that all flavored e-cigarettes should
be banned from public sale. At the end of February 2020, the House, aiming at
youth vaping and tobacco use, voted to ban the sale of flavored cigarettes and
The latest statistics
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include the following
CDC is only reporting hospitalized EVALI cases
and EVALI deaths of whether the patient was hospitalized. The CDC has
removed nonhospitalized cases from previously reported case tabulations as
of December 3, 2019.
A total of 2,807 hospitalized e-cigarette, or
vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) cases or deaths have
been reported to the CDC from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two
U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as of
December 3, 2019.
Sixty-eight deaths have been confirmed in 29
states and the District of Columbia as of February 18, 2020:
Alabama, California (4), Connecticut,
Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida (2), Georgia (6), Illinois (5),
Indiana (6), Kansas (2), Kentucky, Louisiana (2), Massachusetts (5),
Michigan (3), Minnesota (3), Mississippi, Missouri (2), Montana,
Nebraska, New Jersey, New York (4), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, Tennessee (2), Texas (4), Utah, Virginia and
The median age of deceased patients was 49.5
years and ranged from 15-75 years.
Among the 2,668 hospitalized EVALI cases or
deaths reported to the CDC as of January 14, 2020):
66% were male
The median age of patients was 24 years and
ranged from 13–85 years.
By age group category:
15% of patients
were under 18 years old;
37% of patients
were 18 to 24 years old;
24% of patients
were 25 to 34 years old; and
24% of patients
were 35 years or older.
2,022 hospitalized patients had data on
substance use, of whom, as of January 14, 2020):
82% reported using THC-containing products;
33% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.
57% reported using nicotine-containing
products; 14% reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products.
50% of EVALI patients who reported using
THC-containing products provided data on product source (as of
January 7, 2020):
16% reported acquiring products only from
commercial sources (recreational and/or medical dispensaries, vape or
smoke shops, stores, and pop-up shops).
78% reported acquiring products only from
informal sources (family/friends, dealers, online, or other sources).
6% reported acquiring products from both
commercial and informal sources.
54% of EVALI patients who reported using
nicotine-containing products provided data on product source (as
of January 7, 2020):
69% reported acquiring products only from
17% reported acquiring products only from
15% reported acquiring products from both
commercial and informal sources.
In evaluating these
numbers, one eye-opening statistic is that approximately 75% of patients were
under the age of 35. The median age was 24 years and two out of three
hospitalized patients were male. Also, half of the patients who used THC
products identified their product source and more than 75% of these sources
were informal or non-commercial, suggesting an illegal or black market source.
As Congress struggles
to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, the movement to regulate e-cigarettes has
stalled in Congress, but only to some extent. Pennsylvania currently has
experienced between 100 and 149 hospitalized cases or deaths, which puts it in
the upper half of the states affected by EVALI.
The proposed legislation would
require the Food and Drug Administration to place colored graphics on cigarette
cartons depicting the health effects of smoking. Nearly one in three high
school students has reported using a tobacco product recently, according to
a federal survey released in October 2019. The study found that, for
the sixth year in a row, e-cigarettes were the dominant choice of students.
The CDC, with information
from a study conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services, has
The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids,
teens, and young adults.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is
highly addictive and may harm adolescent brain development as it continues
into the early to mid-20s.
E-cigarettes can contain other harmful
substances besides nicotine. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the
ingredients of e-cigarettes.
Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more
likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
In addition to lung-related injuries and the potential
dangers posed by nicotine to adolescents, e-cigarette battery malfunctions
and failures may result in explosions and burn injuries.
If you or your child has experienced negative effects from vaping any brand of e-cigarettes, Powell Law is experienced in litigating product liability claims. Powell Law has an established 115-year-old reputation throughout northeastern Pennsylvania for protecting the rights of those injured by defective products. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE, and you don’t pay unless we win!
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