One day after New York’s attorney general filed legal action against an e-cigarette manufacturer, officials confirmed a second vaping-related death since a first occurred during the previous month. As reported by the New York Post, the state governor noted that the deceased had a history of using vape and e-cigarette products.
Manufacturers generally have strict liability over injuries and deaths caused by the use of a defective product. Black market vaping products, however, have reportedly contributed to more than 2,000 injuries and at least 42 deaths. State and federal health officials are investigating numerous reports in an attempt to determine if there is a connection between an epidemic of mysterious respiratory illnesses and vaping-related products.
Several attorneys general filing lawsuits
Attorneys general from several states have filed lawsuits against the nation’s largest e-cigarette manufacturer, a company that holds a 70% market share. The Empire State’s complaint alleges that deceptive and misleading marketing practices have contributed to a nationwide vaping epidemic, according to NBC New York. The company purportedly targets minors by using social media to glamorize vaping while downplaying its risks and dangers.
Advertisements reportedly portray e-cigarette products as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products. Minors and young consumers tend to find the flavored products attractive, but labels and warnings do not appear transparent enough to satisfy state legislators.
Vaping products reportedly contain vitamin E acetate, which lawmakers suspect is a cause of many of the reported respiratory illnesses and injuries. Officials have also linked a substance used to thicken products made and sold on the black market to several vape-related respiratory illnesses.
Proving that a manufacturer designed a defective product
Manufacturers blamed for injuries and deaths may require a strong defense against allegations of a defective product or design flaw. When a popular product inspires knock-offs, counterfeits and ancillary products, additional factors enter into the equation. Nevertheless, a manufacturer has a legal right to defend its reputation, good standing and ability to remain in operation.