According to the Centers for Disease Control, 530 people have now suffered from vaping-related illness and seven have died. As these numbers increase, the Food and Drug Administration has launched a criminal investigation into the increase in disease. This announcement follows the Trump administration's efforts to curb e-cigarettes and vaping products for children. More than half of the victims were under the age of 25.
"Although the cases appear similar, it is not clear whether these cases have a common cause or whether they are different diseases with similar manifestations, which is why our ongoing investigation is critical," announced the FDA. "CDC and the FDA advise and work closely with state health agencies to collect information about products or substances used." What could this mean for civil liability for evaporative diseases and deaths?
Illness in the supply chain
The FDA has assured people that it does not want to criminalize individual users, but rather for information about what type of vape products they have used. "The focus is on the supply chain," said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. "We are very concerned about products that contain THC."
While all reported victims have used e-cigarettes or vapors in the past, the specific product they inhaled was different. Most people admitted to using THC-containing e-cigarette products, many said they used both nicotine and THC, and some said they used only nicotine products. Many also said that the THC products they used were illegal or bought on the black market.
"There may be a problem with the source material or changes that may occur in different locations," Anne Schuchat, deputy director of the CDC, told reporters, adding that the CDC is "working around the clock" to find out what People make up sick, "it may take some time" before that is possible.
Causes and legal claims
The wide range of diseases and products used makes it even more difficult to identify a single culprit, and FDA forensic laboratory officials confirmed that they have not identified a single product or substance for e-cigarettes as a cause of disease and death. This also aggravates personal injury or death due to product liability, especially if the product was bought illegally.
If you have an e-cigarette or vaping product, see a doctor immediately and share information with the health authorities to determine the exact cause. Then you may want to talk to an experienced product liability attorney about your potential legal claims.