In recent years electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, have grown in popularity. E-cigarettes are "battery powered devices [that] heat flavored and nicotine infused liquid into an inhalable vapor." Propenents of smoking e-cigarettes, or 'vaping', have stated that some of the advantages of vaping is that it helps people quit smoking and is safer than traditional cigarettes. A study released by Public Health England confirmed an estimate that e-cigarettes are 95% safer to puff on than a regular cigarette, though this claim has been disputed by some academics. The e-cigarette industry has been largely unregulated, but that is all going to change as the FDA has officially categorized electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. The industry will now face regulation in the products it puts out on the market.
The e-cigarette industry is also facing numerous reports that the devices smokers use to get their nicotine fix sometimes like to blow up. According to ABC Local 10 News in Flordia, "[f]rom January 2015 to January 2016, scientists from the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products have identified 66 reports of e-cigs overheating, catching fire or exploding." In fact if you type in "electronic cigarette explosion" into Google, there are umeroues stories just from the past few months. A few examples are listed below:
- In January, the Miami Herald reported that a man has brought a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seller of his electronic cigarette over the injuries it caused him when it blew up while it was in his mouth. The explosion burned Evan Spahlinger's face, as well as his throat and his lungs. In addition, he was put in a medically-induced coma briefly after the accident. According to the Herald, his attorneys stated in a press release that his injuries are "permanent and require constant care."
- In February, NBC 4 in California did a story on a man who was injured when the battery of his e-cigarette exploded while the device was in his pocket. 26-year old Spencer Beck suffered second and third degree burns as a result of the incident. He stated that "All of the sudden I heard this noise and felt heat — it was like a road flare went up in my pocket." According to NBC 4, "[h]e suffered second- and third-degree burns and required two surgeries and skin grafts." Beck has filed a lawsuit against the stores he bought the e-cigarette and its charger from.
- In May, KTLA in Los Angeles reported that New Yorker Kenneth Barbero had his teeth knocked out, a hole ripped open in his tongue, and his hands burned after his electronic cigarette exploded in his face. Barbero stated that it felt like a bomb going off in his mouth. His mother suspects that the battery is the source of the explosion.
E-cigarettes are often powered by lithium-ion batteries and its when these batteries are charging that there are the most incidents of explosions or fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Because of this risk, electronic cigarettes have been banned by the Department of Transportation from being packed in checked luggage on airplanes. In addition, smokers cannot charge the devices but can still bring them in a carry-on.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an electronic cigarette or any other defective product, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton today.