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Wisconsin man's vaping injuries highlight product liability issue

Although vaping has often been touted as a safer alternative to cigarettes, federal officials recently claimed that there were 193 potential lung ailment cases associated with e-cigarettes reported in 22 states. One recent case hit close to home, with a 20-year-old Wisconsin man spending days in the hospital recovering from lung injuries doctors suspect are related to his vaping. The numerous injuries across the country have sparked personal injury lawsuits, particularly involving younger users.

The Journal Sentinel previously reported in July about Wisconsin teenagers who suffered lung injuries after vaping. Its earlier investigation in 2015 indicated that West Virginia and Vermont physicians reported two cases of serious lung injuries that they believed were connected to vaping cinnamon and other e-liquid flavors.

A recent investigation also disclosed that e-liquids sometimes contain flavoring substances that can cause irreversible lung damage. These chemicals, diacetyl and 2.3-pentandine, were found in products even though companies advertised that their products did not contain diacetyl.

The article also notes that over 400 teenagers and younger users across the nation contacted a law firm in a neighboring state and provided information about serious physical and psychological effects that arose after vaping for weeks or months. Three lawsuits were filed in federal court in August. involving men in their teens and early 20s who were athletic and now alleged that they suffered respiratory illness, severe irritability and addiction within months after they began vaping.

The three lawsuits primarily charge product liability against a vape manufacturer, its largest stakeholder and a corporate spinoff. The allegations include failing to warn users, design defect and negligent marketing. For those who have suffered vaping injuries, such lawsuits may help obtain necessary compensation for help covering medical and other associated costs.

Even though the US Surgeon General issued an advisory that e-cigarettes are unsafe for people under 26, according to the plaintiffs, the manufacturer intentionally focused its advertising to teenagers and young adults. They also claim that they manipulated the delivery of nicotine to addict consumers, much like cigarette companies.

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