Mitch Byers knew smoking cigarettes was bad, but he never dreamed he’d become addicted to nicotine when he picked up the habit in college.
“The appeal was kind of everyone else was kind of doing it,” he told CBS News Minnesota. His habit quickly grew from one or two cigarettes a week to a pack a day. After college, he switched to vaping, believing it would help him eventually wean off nicotine completely. He was sorely wrong.
“It got out of control quickly,” he said. And then, it nearly cost him his life.
Byers, now 24, went to the emergency room last year with chest pains and body aches. At first, he thought he was having a heart attack. His treating physician said it was likely do to his heavy vape habit. Vaping has been linked to a serious lung injury that has sickened thousands and killed at least 64 people.
Vaping can also be even more difficult to quit than cigarettes. One vape cartridge can contain as much highly addictive nicotine as one or two packs of cigarettes. Inhaling the vapor deeply, which vapers often do, poses even more dangers.
“It’s no surprise that people are having a hard time stopping,” Dr. Joseph Lee, medical director for Hazelden Betty Ford’s youth services, told CBS News Minneapolis. “Vaping or smoking anything and putting it into your lungs is simply not natural.”
Vape companies like JUUL Labs have promoted their products as a way for smokers to break the habit. But it’s clearly all smoke and mirrors. And just like Big Tobacco decades ago, vape companies are targeting younger users with flavored e-liquids and social media ad campaigns, and creating a generation of addicts.
Beasley Allen lawyers Andy Birchfield, Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are handling cases involving injuries related to vaping. We are looking at cases involving adolescent addiction and injuries including seizures, strokes, lung problems, and cardiovascular problems related to the use of JUUL vaping devices. The vape litigation team also is representing school systems nationwide in their efforts to battle the vaping epidemic.