The use of e-cigarettes as a replacement for real cigarettes was supposed to make smoking safer. By creating a “fake” smoking experience, e-cigarettes were supposed to wean people off of the harmful effects of nicotine, by providing a smoking experience without the actual smoke.
Using e-cigarettes—sometimes called “vaping” because of the inhalation of vapors as opposed to smoke—is causing trouble in other ways, as defective products are causing more and more injuries.
Devices are Exploding
Vaping is replacing concerns of cancer, with concerns of explosions and flammable explosive devices being right next to people’s faces. The Federal Aviation Administration has even banned the devices from being on checked luggage on airline flights.
Batteries are thought to be the cause of most vaping accidents. The devices use lithium ion batteries, which can easily catch fire. These batteries are found in many household electronic devices nowadays. So, why are the ones in e-cigarettes exploding?
Design May be Defective
The Federal Government conducted a study to answer just that question. The problem may be related to the design of the cigarette itself.
In cell phones and other electronic devices, the battery is usually housed in a protective casing, or else the battery itself has a flat shape to it. In e-cigarettes, the battery is cylindrical, and there is no way to fully encase the battery because the cigarette itself has openings or weaknesses at both ends—including the end that goes in the user’s mouth.
When batteries rupture, it means that the battery itself or any flames end up right at the user’s mouth and face. Flame burns, burns from chemicals, and injuries from projectiles are the result of an exploding vaping pen. In many cases, vaping pens hurl plastic in users’ faces and lips. Users have lost teeth, tissue, and been left with permanent scarring. Injuries to the hands and arms are also common when vape pens explode.
Not Many Laws Protect Consumers
While there are general laws and regulations that require manufacturers to have certain protections and warnings when lithium batteries are used, there are no regulations that specifically target vaping. This means that the unique design of an e-cigarette is not addressed by any regulation.
Although experts provide some guidance on how to safely use a pen, most agree that in many cases, the batteries explode even with the most cautious usage. Some leg and thigh injuries are a result of the battery exploding in people’s pocket when the pen is not even in use.
In one particularly scary example, just the spare battery, outside of the pen exploded in a man’s pocket. The lawsuit filed by the man alleged that it ignited on contact with other items in the man’s pocket, such as keys or coins. The lawsuit says that Sony, the company that sold the battery, sold it knowing there was no protective housing or internal devices to regulate the battery’s temperature.
If a product is defective and causes injury, you may have a right to sue the manufacturer or the seller. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your accident.