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New Jersey Lawmakers Fight to Stop Vape Injury Epidemic

According to an October 2019 study from the New Jersey Hospital Association, hospitals across the state were on track to see 16,000 hospital patients with vaping-related injuries, twice the number they saw in 2018. Now, new information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that vaping-related hospitalizations could be even worse in the face of the Coronavirus outbreak, as experts have identified vaping as a possible risk factor for the virus.

One bit of good news is New Jersey lawmakers have taken significant steps to fight the problem in recent months.
Below I’ll tell you more about the dangers of vaping and what lawmakers are doing to keep New Jersey residents safe, as well as how a Passaic County personal injury lawyer can help if you have been injured by these products.

Serious Vaping-Related Lung Injuries

A January 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 2700 cases of vape-related lung injuries throughout the U.S., including 60 deaths. According to the New Jersey Hospital Association study, 57 of these injuries and one fatality happened here. Recent hospitalizations of vapers are largely linked to EVALI, a lung disease researchers have specifically linked to vape devices. The symptoms include shortness of breath and chest pain which can eventually result in hospitalization due to severe breathing problems.

Although research on other health risks of vaping is in its early stages, experts know that long-term exposure can cause serious consequences. Heart attacks, even in teens and young adults, have been reported, and e-cigarettes have been hypothesized to prematurely age the heart. Vape-related seizures, especially involving teens and young adults, have been reported to the FDA. Strokes and pulmonary embolisms are also significantly more common among people who vape or use e-cigarettes.

The Link Between Vaping and Coronavirus

Recently, the CDC released new data showing that young people under 45 could be much more affected by COVID-19 than health experts previously believed. In fact, patients under 45 years old make up over a third of all novel coronavirus cases. What’s worse, these cases are not mild: 20 percent of younger patients require hospitalization.

The reason why some young people but not others are getting so sick from the virus may have to do with e-cigarettes, according to experts. For one, vaping negatively affects the lungs’ ability to clear out pathogens. It also causes lung inflammation and inhibits their ability to protect themselves. The damage extends all the way to the cellular level, preventing immune cells from effectively fighting pathogens.

This especially concerns people who live in New Jersey, as nearly 14,000 cases have been confirmed as of March 29. As the illness continues to spread, any risk factor, whether you are immunocompromised or you happen to vape, could make the difference between serious illness that could require an expensive hospital stay, as well as serious long-term consequences for your health.

If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and currently vape, I cannot stress more that now is the time to quit. Even if you have not been diagnosed or exposed to the novel coronavirus, by stopping vaping you can potentially protect yourself from severe illness if you do get sick.

New Jersey Kids Serious Vaping-Related Injuries

In addition to the rise in total vape-related injuries, the New Jersey Hospital Association study found that in 2018, many of these hospital admissions were children who were just 12 or 13 years old. Researcher Sean Hopkins said that it is not uncommon to see 11 and 12-year-olds with a history of e-cigarette use. 18-24 year-olds are most likely to use these products, even though they are only legal to those 21 and over.

National research reports similar findings. A 2019 National Institute on Drug Abuse Monitoring the Future (MTF) study found that over 25% of high school seniors reported vaping in the last month.

Needless to say, if you have kids, take action now to warn them about the dangers of vaping. Juul and other companies are known for marketing tactics that specifically target teens, making them believe these products are safe. Making sure your kids understand the dangers of these products is the only way to protect them from these companies.

New Jersey Lawmakers Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

With the epidemic of vaping-related injuries getting worse in recent years, in late 2019 lawmakers decided to take action. In November of that year, New York State Attorney General Letitia James decided to file a lawsuit against the country’s largest vape brand, Juul. Shortly afterwards, the New York City Council approved a ban on flavored e-cigarettes which began in late November of last year and is still in effect.

In January 2020, New Jersey joined New York’s efforts when the Senate passed a bill that prohibited selling or distributing any flavored or scented e-cigarette or vape device. They also imposed a $250 for first offenders, $500 for second offenders, and $1000 for additional offenses.

Individuals Bringing Lawsuits Against Companies

Many class action lawsuits have been brought against vape device and e-cigarette companies, but we’re also starting to see many individual lawsuits. The lawsuits run the gamut in terms of their claims, which include multiple wrongful death cases and the implication of vape devices in a variety of lung diseases like pneumonia, serious asthma, and COPD. Since vaping is now identified as a risk factor for coronavirus, it's possible lawsuits could continue to grow more complex.

If you believe you have vaping-related injuries after using a vape device or e-cigarette, Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli may be able to help. We have experience fighting for the rights of many New Jersey citizens in personal injury lawsuits, and our Passaic County personal injury lawyers may be able to help you too.

If you are unsure if you have a case, you can learn more about your rights during a free consultation with our compassionate team. Contact us today at (973) 785-9522.

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Robert J. Bavagnoli is a Passaic County attorney specializing in personal injury and real estate law. He founded Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli in 1995 where he practiced for many years alongside his brother, Ronald C. Bavagnoli (now deceased). For over 28 years, he has proudly served Northern New Jersey including Passaic County, Bergen County, and Essex County, among others, recovering millions in damages for his clients.

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