A growing number of fire explosions from electronic cigarettes have raised serious concerns about the safety of millions of Americans using them. Earlier this year, surveillance footage captured the moment a Kentucky man’s pants suddenly burst into flames at a gas station when his e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket.
The e-cigarette, also known as a personal vaporizer, is a battery-powered device that mimics tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor, which resembles smoke. More than 2.5 million Americans use e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking tobacco, a number that is growing rapidly.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than two dozen incidents of explosion and fire involving an e-cigarette were reported between 2009 and 2014. Eighty percent of the incidents occurred while the vaporizer’s lithium-ion battery was charging.
Manufacturing defects, overcharging and punctures can cause rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to overheat, triggering a fire or explosion. The shape and construction of e-cigarettes make them more prone to act like “flaming rockets” when a battery fails, the U.S. Fire Administration said in a recent report.
In some instances, e-cigarettes have blown up in people’s faces and mouths while using them, leaving victims with gruesome burn injuries and requiring multiple surgeries to repair the damage. Children also have been injured in explosions involving e-cigarettes.
The blasts are a growing problem in the U.S. where e-cigarettes have become a $2.2 billion industry and use is climbing exponentially among adults and teens. According to a 2014 study, the devices are sold by nearly 500 brands, raising serious concerns about the likelihood of more injuries occurring.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes, though new rules to expand the agencies’ oversight are under review by the Office of Management and Budget. As a result, e-cigarette manufacturers and distributers are not required to include health warnings on packages our use child-proofing on any products.
The use of non-approved USB ports or power adapters appears to be responsible for most of the e-cigarette incidents, according to the fire administration. Users should always use the charging appliance that comes with the device. Leaving the device plugged into a charger for an extended period of time can cause the battery to overheat and catch fire due to overcharging. Industry advocates also advise users to avoid battery contact with metal objects such as coins, keys or jewelry.
E-Cigarette Injury Lawsuits
Lawsuits are being filed against manufacturers, retailers, suppliers and other parties responsible for e-cigarette explosions. Victims may be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. For more information about filing an e-cigarette lawsuit, contact the personal injury lawyers at Langdon & Emison by calling 866-931-2115 or clicking on the chat button to the right.