September 28, 2015

Lawsuits and potential legislation mounting

e-cig-electronic-cigarette-lawyerThe e-cigarette industry is coming under increased pressure from lawmakers and product liability attorneys questioning the safety of electronic nicotine delivery systems. While e-cigarettes have been commercially available for about a decade, many unanswered questions remain about the safety of e-cigs and their efficacy in helping traditional smokers quit nicotine.

E-cigarettes are advertised as both a safer alternative to regular cigarettes and as smoking cessation tools. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently recognize e-cigs as a nicotine cessation aid. Two lawsuits filed in California are taking aim at major electronic cigarette manufacturer’s claims the devices promise a safer nicotine experience and are a way to help smokers quit.

This summer, the FDA informed e-cigarette companies it will soon require liquid nicotine packaging to contain toxicity warnings and be child-resistant. Reported instances of children being poisoned by liquid nicotine has shot up dramatically. In 2014, more than 150 children were sent to the emergency room with nicotine poisoning after exposure to liquid nicotine used for e-cigarettes. Critics have noted that the liquid nicotine’s bright colors and flavors make them appealing to young children.

Perhaps one of the greatest dangers posed by e-cigs is the lithium ion batteries used to power the devices. If safety mechanisms inside e-cigs fail, the lithium-ion batteries could overheat and cause fires. Many e-cigarette batteries are made in China where regulations on battery design and manufacturing are much weaker than the United States.

With all of the potential product liability pitfalls facing the e-cigarette industry, it may only be a matter of time before manufacturers are faced with e-cigarette lawsuits. While The Cochran Firm, D.C. is not currently accepting e-cig cases, we are continuing to monitor the issue.