Vaporizers and E-Cigarette Explosions

Author: Robert C. T. Reed, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Vaporizers and E-Cigarette ExplosionsMore and more people are switching away from standard tobacco cigarettes in favor of e-cigarettes or vaporizers. Reasons include convenience, the belief that they are safer alternatives to smoking, and the belief that they can help the user quit smoking. Whatever the reason may be, manufacturers have rushed to fill the marketplace with options for consumers looking to purchase different vaping devices. This evolving industry has only existed in the U.S. since 2007, and currently, it is not well regulated.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates traditional tobacco products, does not currently have authority over e-cigarettes and vaporizers. In October 2015, the FDA submitted a proposed rule for the White House to review regarding the regulation of electronic cigarettes.[1] The FDA has raised concerns that the “quality control processes used to manufacture these products are substandard or non-existent.”[2]

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) typically use lithium-ion batteries to vaporize a liquid mixture of nicotine and chemicals, which increases vapor and provides flavor.[3] The batteries are often charged using a power adapter and USB cable.[4] The battery is usually held in a cylindrical casing at the end of the device. Lithium-ion battery failure is a well-known risk, and can cause the e-cigarettes that contain them to explode. Such batteries hold combustible material that can ignite in the event of overheating, which can be caused by overcharging, external heat, a short circuit, or internal cell fault.[5] The design of these e-cigarettes and vaping devices makes them prone to catastrophic injury in the event of a battery failure. The exploding batteries tend to be propelled out of the tube like a bullet, and the tube itself tends to rupture and fling shrapnel. Considering that the users of these devices are holding them in their hands and close to their faces, it is not difficult to imagine the seriousness of the consequences. Recent news articles point out the widespread dangers of exploding e-cigarettes and vaporizers.[6]  Injuries from these explosions can include traumatic brain injury, coma, burns, facial fractures, dental destruction, amputation of fingers and hands, and other severe injuries.

This defect is widely reported, but not generally well known. The manufacturers and retailers are not warning about the danger, and there is little reason for users of these devices to expect an explosion since they have little knowledge of their risks. 

The attorneys at Allen & Allen have the experience to investigate and handle claims on behalf of people of have been injured as a result of vaporizer and e-cigarette explosions nationwide. If you or one of your loved ones has been injured by an e-cigarette, contact Allen & Allen online or by calling 1-800-768-2222.

About The Author: Rob Reed is an experienced personal injury attorney with the law firm of Allen & Allen. He works out of the Richmond Office. Rob has devoted his practice to helping victims of serious accidents and their families in personal injury cases.

[1] See http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/ucm388395.htm

[2] http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm225210.htm

[3] https://www.usfa.fema.gov/

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/e-cigarette-explosion_56532c70e4b0879a5b0b91da (Nov. 23, 2015, Tennessee man in coma after e-cigarette explosion); http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/10/28/man-coma-after-e-cigarette-explosion (Oct. 28, 2015, Florida man in coma after e-cigarette explosion); http://fox5sandiego.com/2015/02/09/e-cigarette-explodes-in-mans-face/ (Feb. 9, 2015, California man with burns to face after vaporizer exploded); and http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/e-cigarettes-explode-fda-timeline (April, 2014, multiple reports of injury from vaporizer explosions around the country).

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