Posted On June 1, 2016 In Personal Injury
If you, family members or friends have used tobacco products, chances are you have also seen electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are devices that use lithium-ion batteries to heat up flavored juice containing nicotine. These products have become widely popular alternatives to traditional tobacco products because vapor is produced instead of smoke. Former smokers may believe electronic cigarettes are ‘safe’ alternatives to tobacco cigarettes.
Up until recently, the electronic cigarette industry has been unregulated. Poor design and manufacturing of electronic cigarettes has caused some devices to explode. Electronic cigarettes can also explode if used improperly, but many consumers are unaware of what actions can cause explosions.
There have been several recent cases of electronic cigarette explosions causing serious injuries. A New York man was using an electronic cigarette when it exploded without warning, knocking out his teeth and ripping a hole through his tongue. Another man in Colorado was left partially paralyzed after an electronic cigarette exploded while in use. Other people have reported explosions while electronic cigarettes were being charged.
People hurt by electronic cigarette explosions have suffered third-degree burns, broken teeth and facial injuries. Many people burned by exploding electronic cigarettes have been forced to undergo skin grafts.
If you regularly use electronic cigarettes, it is important to stay informed on the possible risks. This blog is not meant to bash electronic cigarettes, but to inform you on how these devices can explode.
Electronic cigarettes explode when lithium-ion batteries undergo a thermal runaway effect. In this case, a thermal runaway means the batteries become exponentially hotter until they explode.
It is also worth mentioning that this is not a ‘typical explosion’. Due to the shape and construction of many electronic cigarettes, battery failure can result in devices shooting superhot flames and debris several feet. If you are a fan of fireworks, try to picture a very large bottle rocket explosion. There are several ways lithium-ion batteries can explode.
Shops that sell these products may allow customers to purchase certain types of batteries and chargers that are not supposed to be used together.
When lithium-ion batteries are placed in pockets with loose change, they can short and explode without warning. ABC News recently discussed how a 19-year-old Colorado man suffered third degree burns on his thigh from placing an electronic cigarette in his pocket with loose change.
In other cases, batteries are used with electronic cigarettes that they were not designed for. The strangest cases involve no clear explanation. A New York woman suffered third-degree burns when an electronic cigarette exploded in her pocket. An investigation during a lawsuit filed by the woman could not discover why the battery had exploded in the first place.
Many people hurt by these explosions have suffered permanent injuries. For example, a 14-year-old boy was left partially blinded from an electronic cigarette he purchased illegally at a mall kiosk. Electronic cigarettes are also often marketed as ‘safe alternatives to tobacco products’.
Stores that are selling multiple incompatible batteries and electronic cigarettes, or poorly designed and dangerous products, could be held accountable when people are injured. These vendors also have a duty to their customers to inform on possible risks and to offer suggestions for safe use.
The personal injury and product liability lawyers at Mike Love & Associates, LLC will hold negligent businesses accountable when customers are injured.