2nd and 3rd Hand Vape Exposure Puts Children at Risk

Sept. 17, 2019

Consumers who were told that e-cigarettes are safer to use than tobacco cigarettes might be tempted to believe that the statement holds true for second- and third-hand exposure.

After all, if e-cigarettes are safer to use why wouldn’t they be safer to be around as well? In fact, more information is coming out that e-cigarettes are no safer than tobacco cigarettes for anyone who is exposed to them, whether that exposure is first-, second- or third-hand.

Unfortunately, many consumers were led to believe their JUUL e-cigarettes and other vape devices were safer than tobacco cigarettes.

Parents who wouldn’t dream of smoking around their children in enclosed spaces thought they were safe to vape in such areas. Doing so, however, may have put their children at risk of health problems. 

More People Vape than Smoke Around Their Children

According to a recent study conducted by Dr. Jonathan Winickoff and other researchers, parents are more likely to use e-cigarettes such as JUUL and other vape devices than tobacco cigarettes around their children.

Their research found that more people had strict rules about smoking tobacco cigarettes in the car and the home than smoking e-cigarettes.

Specifically, 63 percent of dual users, 61 percent of cigarette smokers and 74 percent of e-cigarette users said their homes are smoke-free. In comparison, only 38 percent of cigarette smokers and 22 percent of dual users had similar e-cigarette policies in their car and home

“We knew that the industry messages and advertising about this being a safe product were not true,” Winickoff said to Healthline. “We wondered whether parents might have been misled and think that these products were safe to use around infants and children.”

E-Cigarette Exposure Dangerous

Although e-cigarettes have been marketed as safe, concerns are growing that they contain toxins and chemicals that, alone or in combination with each other, could cause serious health problems for the people using them and those around them.

E-cigarettes give off an aerosol that can be inhaled by people in the vicinity of the person vaping. JUUL e-cigarettes contain nicotine, as might other e-cigarette brands. 

Vapes also contain tiny particles and heavy metals. Some have cancer-causing chemicals, such as the flavorings used to appeal to vape users. 

Not a lot of research has been done on second- and third-hand vape exposure, but that does not mean such exposure is safe. It simply means there is a lot of researchers don’t know yet and such exposure could put children at risk of serious health problems. 

Third-hand exposure refers to exposure that occurs when chemicals and particles from the e-cigarette drip from the vape device and are deposited on nearby surfaces, such as the floor. An infant crawling on the floor might then be exposed to those particles. Researchers don’t know what the effects of such contact might be, but any exposure to toxic substances such as nicotine is likely to have adverse effects. 

Studies involving youths who use nicotine suggested a link between such use and mood disorders, anxiety and, possibly, addiction.

More Teens Breathing Second-Hand E-Cigarette Vapor

Meanwhile, an increasing number of youths report being exposed to second-hand e-cigarette vapors in public places. According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, one-quarter of youths said they were exposed to second-hand aerosol in the past 30 days between 2015 and 2017. That figure rose to one-third of youths in 2018. 

The increase in youth exposure from parents or from friends or fellow students is alarming to some experts, who compare the current status of e-cigarettes with how tobacco was once seen. 

“Frankly, it’s frightening,” Winickoff said. “It’s where we were with the exposure of children to combusted tobacco 25 years ago. Big tobacco markets e-cigarettes as healthy products without any consideration or warnings about the harms to infants and children.

The truth is that all vape products create an invisible plume of nicotine and ultrafine toxic particles that spreads into the air and coats the surface.”

Attorneys Filing JUUL E-Cigarette Lawsuits

At Cutter Law, we fight aggressively against companies that market their products as safe when they know or should know that their devices cause harm to consumers.

Companies like JUUL make massive profits by misleading consumers about the safety of their products but they put the public’s health in jeopardy. 

We have extensive experience fighting against e-cigarette and tobacco companies and are firmly committed to holding these giant corporations accountable for their actions. We will fight for you every step of the way and ensure we put forth the strongest claim possible.

Our attorneys have recovered more than $600 million in cases where we were lead or co-lead counsel, and we put the same energy and dedication into every lawsuit. 

Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your options

Personal injury and civil justice attorney Brooks Cutter is a leading advocate for consumer justice and protecting the rights of the severely injured. Brooks founded Cutter Law, P.C., with offices in Sacramento and Oakland, with…
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