Study: E-cigarettes may contain dangerous toxins

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Harvard researchers find lung-damaging toxin in Juul e-cigarette pods

A new study out of Harvard University found potentially dangerous levels of the microbial toxin glucan in nearly half of all Juul e-cigarette pods tested by researchers. The flavors with the most concentrated levels of glucan were tobacco and menthol—the only flavors currently available for purchase in the U.S. after a recent Food and Drug Administration ban on kid-friendly flavors. 

The study, published in December 2019 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, was an extension of a previous study that found bacterial and fungal toxins in a number of different e-cigarette products sold in 2013.

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Juul Labs Inc. launched in 2015 and quickly became the industry leader, dominating more than half of the e-cigarette market. Since researchers couldn’t include Juul products in their original study, they decided to test 54 flavor pods manufactured by Juul. 

Researchers tested the flavor pods for two different microbial toxins: endotoxins, found in bacterial cells, and glucan, found in fungal cells. Though endotoxin levels were below detectable limits, researchers found detectable levels of glucan in 46% of the e-cigarette pods tested. 

Glucan concentrations were much lower in flavors that appeal to youth, like mango, crème, fruit, and cucumber, compared to “traditional” flavors like tobacco and menthol. The kid-friendly flavors are the same flavors that lawmakers targeted in their effort to curb the youth vaping epidemic and are no longer available for sale in the U.S. Tobacco- and menthol-flavored pods, on the other hand, are still on the market. 

Chronic exposure to glucan can cause inflammation in the airway and lead to long-term lung damage, according to study co-author David Christiani. This finding is especially significant in light of the thousands of cases of vaping-related lung disease that swept the country in summer 2019. 

Though a majority of cases have been tied to vitamin E acetate, an additive in THC-containing vape cartridges, public health officials are still investigating the cause of cases involving only nicotine and flavored e-cigarettes. 

E-cigarette Lawsuits

People who used vaping products and suffered adverse health effects are filing e-cigarette lawsuits against JUUL, Blu, NJOY, and other major manufacturers of e-cigarettes. 

If you used e-cigarettes and were subsequently injured, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our team of experienced attorneys and case managers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. Call us at 800-631-5656 today or fill out our simple case evaluation form.