E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that contain cartridges of nicotine, chemicals, and flavorings (such as pineapple or peppermint). The electronic cigarette turns nicotine into vapor, which is inhaled by the user. The FDA has recently released studies that have analyzed some of the e-cigarette cartridges on the market. The studies revealed that the e-cigarettes contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals that users could potentially be exposed to. However, these are not the only risks e-cigarette users face.
While e-cigarettes may have previously seemed like a healthier alternative to smoking, there have been many terrifying reports beyond potential toxic chemical exposure. Some users have sustained serious injuries due to e-cigarettes overheating, catching fire, or exploding.
An e-cigarette injured a South Florida man after it exploded during use.
The device burst into flames in his face, causing him to inhale flames, smoke, and scorching hot air, sending him into a medically induced coma. Thankfully, the man is now recovering from his accident but he is left with severe burns to his face, neck, and mouth and serious injuries to his esophagus and lungs. Another Florida man was injured when the device exploded inches from his face, without any warning. He sustained serious burns to his face, chest, and lap. He had to have his jaw wired shut and has lost several teeth as a result of the explosion.
In 2014, the U.S. Fire Administration released a report that found that the compact design of e-cigarettes can make them more likely to cause serious injury if the lithium-ion battery fails. Many of the devices lack ventilation, which can cause the battery to overheat and catch fire. The U.S. Fire Administration concluded that there is a need for continued improvements in battery safety designs, however, there have been little updates in the design since the e-cigarettes came to the market.
Despite the alarming safety hazards and reports of personal injury, e-cigarette sales have continued to soar. This is due largely because there are no codes, laws, or regulations governing the safety of e-cigarettes or the batteries used with the device to put users on notice of the risks associated with using e-cigarettes. Consumers are bearing the brunt of the safety issues. The e-cigarette manufacturers are not required to test the safety of their products.
While we believe that refraining from using an e-cigarette is the best way to avoid injury, we realize that many people will use the e-cigarettes because they are simply not aware of the dangers. Therefore, it is important to follow these safety tips:
Don’t use knock off e-cigarette brands.
Gas stations and convenience stores often carry cheap, knock-off brand e-cigarettes. Consumers are more likely to pick these up if they forget their e-cigarette at home or if they are going somewhere they can’t smoke cigarettes that day. Be aware that the majority of the e-cigarette explosions have been from knock-off foreign brands.
Always read the instructions.
Don’t be tempted to throw out the instructions that come with your device. Take the time to read the instructions thoroughly. There may be some recommendations in the instructions to assist in avoiding dangerous situations.
Don’t overcharge the e-cigarette.
Leaving an e-cigarette plugged in for too long can overcharge and overheat the battery. This increases the risk of explosion or another dangerous malfunction.
Always use the correct charger for your e-cigarette.
The charger that comes with the e-cigarette is designed to be fully compatible with the device. Therefore, it is the only charger you should use. In certain situations, an incompatible charger has increased the chance of an explosion.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured by an e-cigarette, please call Beltz & Beltz today at 727-201-9944 to speak to an attorney that can advise you of your options.