Toxins from cigarette smoke are considered to be a source of birth defects, as well as cancer, respiratory ailments, and heart disease. Yet for those who don't want to break the habit, a new form of cigarette is supposed to replicate the pleasures of smoking while reducing its harmful effects. But is the electronic cigarette appreciably safer than the traditional type?
The electronic cigarette is set up so that an electric light goes off at the tip, so that it appears as though the smoker is lighting up. Instead, the smoke that comes out is not tobacco smoke, but water vapor. Meanwhile, the smoker manages to receive a dose of nicotine with only a tiny trace of other toxins. The electronic cigarette made its debut in China in 2003, where smoking killed six million people every year, and quickly spread across the world. In many countries, these cigarettes are advertised as they were in the 1960s, using glamorous actors to promote the product. In the United States, electronic cigarette sales have doubled each year since 2008, and are expected to reach $1 billion this year.
Yet while health officials concede that the electronic cigarette is less toxic than the traditional type, they caution that "less toxic" does not equal safe. One concern is that electronic cigarettes could get a nonsmoker hooked on nicotine, or lead a smoker who would otherwise quit to delay. Officials acknowledge that research needs to be done to determine the other potentially harmful effects of electronic cigarettes, including any harm that could be secondhand.
Normally, if a mother smokes throughout her pregnancy and her child has a birth defect, she would not have a very strong case if she tried to sue the cigarette manufacturer. That is because in the present day the harmful effects of traditional cigarettes are so widely known, that many would claim that the mother "assumed the risk," and that she bore as much blame -- if not more -- for her child's condition. However, it might be a different story if the mother smoked electronic cigarettes under the assurance that they were "safe." If that were the case, she might have a basis to file a product liability suit against the electronic cigarette manufacturer. She could argue that the manufacturer had a duty to create as safe a product as possible, and provide an adequate warning if there were any dangers. The manufacturer not only failed to make the electronic cigarette as safe as it could have been, but it also did not provide a sufficient warning. In fact, it did the opposite, boasting in advertisements that the cigarette contained no dangers. As a result, the mother was injured through exposure to the cigarette's toxins, and her child was born with a birth defect.
The birth defect attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola, LLP have successfully represented clients in birth defect lawsuits for more than 35 years. If your child suffers from a birth defect that you believe could be due to your being exposed to harmful chemicals while pregnant, please contact us today by calling (800) 400-8182, or submit our online Contact Us form.