“While lawsuits regarding exploding e-cigarettes have already been filed, it is only a matter of time before the vapors clear and toxic tort lawsuits similar to traditional tobacco litigation appear,” Jessica P. Butkera, an associate in Goldberg Segalla’s Toxic Torts Practice Group, writes in The Baltimore Barrister.
Early testing of e-cigarette products found that, aside from the addictive nicotine, vapors contained several known carcinogens, as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the vaporizing mechanism. Jessica explains that, despite growing evidence of risks, e-cigarettes are increasingly popular —especially with children, who are exposed to largely unregulated advertising for popular options that “mimic the flavor of sweet treats.”
While e-cigarette products are starting to fall under new or expanded regulations at the federal and state level, the Trump administration has slowed the implementation of regulations finalized during the Obama administration — and meanwhile, both use and instances of injury or other damages are increasing. “In addition to litigation brought by industry insiders and plaintiffs injured by exploding cigarettes, the research currently available makes the potential for toxic tort litigation likely,” Jessica writes. “The prevalence among children and teenage smokers all but guarantees that this upcoming area of law could thrive for decades.” In addition, the prevalence of e-cigarettes could be relevant to ongoing and future toxic tort litigation for mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. “Those dealing with asbestos and mesothelioma should question current plaintiffs about their e-cigarette use,” Jessica advises. Plaintiffs may be “exposing themselves to known carcinogens which could affect their claims related to asbestos-related lung cancers.”