Cases of the strange vape-related lung injury that seemed to appear in 2019, sending more than 2,800 people to hospitals across the country and killing 68, may have been previously overlooked, a new study published in the ATS Journals suggests.

The analysis, titled “E-cigarette-Associated Lung Injury Is Not That New,” was conducted by researchers with the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and West Hospital in New York. Researchers reviewed 68,149 hospital admissions in 2016 related to the use of vaping products and recognized characteristics of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury) in six cases.

The six patients had an average age of 54.6 years, and 33.3% were women. The average hospital stay was 11 days. Researchers concluded that the “Vaping Crisis of 2019,” may have surfaced years earlier but been overlooked. This highlights the importance of asking patients about their use of vaping products, they added.

Cases of EVALI increased sharply in August 2019 and peaked in September. Since then, cases have gradually decreased. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) credits the persistent decline to increased public awareness of the risk with THC-containing vapes, the removal of vitamin E acetate from some products, and law enforcement efforts to remove illicit products from the market.

While laboratory data points to vitamin E acetate as the primary culprit for the vape-related lung injury, vape manufacturers are still being scrutinized for not fully disclosing the dangers of their products. Vapes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Companies like JUUL have targeted youth by selling candy-flavored e-liquids and promoting their products through social media influencers popular with teens.

Beasley Allen Law Firm has filed lawsuits on behalf of school systems to hold JUUL accountable for marketing its addictive products to young people without warning them of the risks and for creating a new generation of nicotine addicts. This has resulted in a public nuisance that has impacted school systems and forced them to expend limited time and resources, the complaints assert.

Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. They also have filed lawsuits on behalf of school districts nationwide, which seek to protect students and recover resources spent fighting the vaping epidemic.

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