Amid growing concerns about the potential health risks associated with e-cigarette use, a new study sheds light on the side effects of nicotine addiction and the adverse effect exposure to nicotine can have on childhood health and development. In the study, researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics warn that childhood nicotine exposure, which includes exposure during adolescence, can lead to a lifelong nicotine addiction, as well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lung illness and other serious health issues. If you or someone you know has suffered from a nicotine addiction or another serious side effect of e-cigarettes, or “vaping,” contact an experienced e-cigarette injury lawyer today to discuss your legal options.
There has been a significant increase in the use of e-cigarettes in the United States in recent years, and of increasing popularity are e-cigarette products that deliver a high dose of concentrated nicotine over a short period of time, which has been shown to increase the risk of side effects in users. Of particular concern is the use of e-cigarettes by teens and young adults, due in large part to the fact that there is limited research on the “short- and long-term health effects of nicotine on childhood health during all stages of development.” In this new e-cigarette study, published in the February edition of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal, researchers reviewed preclinical and clinical studies to identify the age-related health effects of nicotine exposure from e-cigarette products like JUUL.
Compared to adult users, the researchers observed behavioral differences and greater dopamine releases in response to nicotine exposure among adolescent e-cigarette users, which suggests that the risk of nicotine addiction is greater for youth. The researchers also found that teens who had never used e-cigarettes before were at an increased risk of becoming regular users after their first vaping experience. It is this vulnerability that e-cigarette manufacturers are accused of preying on in marketing their products to teens and adolescent users, as well as prior nonsmokers. The fact is, previous research has shown that some e-cigarette products contain nicotine concentrations at levels that are five times higher than combustible cigarettes. This is especially alarming considering many young people who vape don’t even realize that the e-cigarettes they use on a daily basis contain any nicotine at all.
In addition to the risk of developing an addiction to nicotine, vaping has been linked to a number of potential health problems in young users. According to the results of the Pediatrics study, youth exposure to the nicotine in e-cigarettes can result in problems with the development of their respiratory, cardiovascular and other critical systems, as well as increase their risk of suffering behavioral disorders, such as ADHD. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that “in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies strongly indicate that nicotine exposure alone can adversely affect the nervous, respiratory, immune, and cardiovascular systems, particularly when exposure occurs during critical developmental periods.”
E-cigarettes have become the most popular form of tobacco use for teens in the United States, with nearly five million teens admitting to being current e-cigarette users in 2018, and JUUL vape pens are the most used e-cigarette brand among youth and prior nonsmokers. This is due in large part to the pen’s design, which makes it even easier for users to inhale large quantities of nicotine without even noticing. The amount of nicotine absorbed in the body is enough to make e-cigarette users addicted and many regular e-cigarette users are now suffering from a lifelong nicotine addiction. In addition to exposing themselves to the potential health risks associated with e-cigarettes alone, studies have shown that teens who vape are nearly three times more likely to go on to smoke combustible cigarettes than teens who don’t use any type of tobacco product.
Although the popularity of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed in recent years, many of the short-term and long-term health effects of vaping remain unknown, especially those affecting adolescent users. Just last April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the potential risk of seizures associated with vaping, and by August, the agency had identified at least 127 reports of seizure episodes among e-cigarette users. As the potential health risks of vaping continue to emerge, a growing number of lawsuits are being filed by e-cigarette users across the country who have suffered from nicotine addiction and other serious side effects allegedly caused by vaping. And as e-cigarette injury attorneys continue to review and file claims in the coming months, the e-cigarette litigation is expected to grow.