According to a 2016 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, e-cigarettes are responsible for a growing number of explosions, fires, and disfiguring injuries. With the use of e-cigs gaining in popularity among current smokers, ex-smokers, and those who never smoked before, there is certainly reason for concern.
Since the first electronic smoking device first appeared on the market in 2003, the marketplace has become saturated. In 2014, there were 466 brands of e-cigs with almost 8,000 flavors serving some2,750,000 e-cigarette smokers. In America, the sale of e-cigs, vapor pens, and accessories has exceeded $2.8 billion. All indications are that growth will continue.
Types of Personal Injury Caused by Exploding E-Cigs
The most severe injuries occurred when the explosion happened while in the mouth of the victim, followed by while in the in the victim’s pocket. The most common types of reported injuries requiring care include:
- Loss of a body part
- Smoke inhalation
- Third-degree burns
- Second-degree burns
- Lacerations requiring stitches
- Facial injuries requiring reconstructive plastic surgery
How Do E-Cigs and Vape Pens Work?
These devices have a heating element that vaporized a liquid solution. Solutions, also called juices, contain a mixture of propylene glycol for flavor, glycerin (which increases vapor), nicotine, and other flavorings. You can also purchase flavored juice solution that doesn’t contain the nicotine. Whenever a user takes a drag on the cigarette, it activates the internal heating coil which then vaporizes the solution. Most of the newer devices have a built-in feature to prevent overheating, and others have locking features to prevent them from being activated when not in use.
What Causes e-Cigs to Explode?
The combination of an electric heat source and lithium-ion battery presents a unique hazard. According to FEMA, fires and explosions are caused by the batteries inside the electronic cigarette. While these injuries are still considered uncommon, the outcomes are often devastating and life-altering for the victims. Experts believe that injuries will continue to increase.
You may remember recently that Samsung voluntarily recalled millions of its Note 7 smartphones because the lithium-ion batteries were catching fire, and causing injuries. Yet, Tom Kiklas, a spokesperson for the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association has called the hundreds of victims from exploding e-cigs “insignificant” and places the blame on users who he suggests used incorrect battery chargers.
If You are Injured by an E-Cig or Vape Pen
If you have been injured in an accident, there are certain steps you should take as soon as possible to protect your rights and ensure a good outcome in your personal injury case.
- Seek medical attention
- Document your injuries (take photos, medical records, etc.)
- Take pictures of the device and the scene, including any fire damage
- Get reports from first responders
- Gather witness statements
Finally, it is important to seek legal advice early on. Experienced personal injury attorneys, like the lawyers at David K. Wilson and Associates, understand how to negotiate with insurance companies, corporations, and those responsible for your damages. To discuss your case, contact us today for a free case evaluation.