E-cigarettes, also known as vape pens, e-cigs, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), and digital cigarettes, have become a popular alternative to smoking for some people. Users of e-cigarettes are able to consume nicotine without some of the side effects of smoking regular cigarettes. These devices heat a small amount of “vape liquid” or “vape juice” in order to produce inhalable steam vapors. E-cigarettes can be purchased at convenience stores, vape shops, and online retailers. They’ve been aggressively marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes are not as safe as some believe.
E-cigarettes are generally battery operated, with some versions using rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of e-cigarettes exploding and causing serious injury to users. Lithium-ion batteries are made with alternating layers of metallic anode and cathode material separated by a porous film. This porous film has a liquid electrolyte that can be flammable. If the battery overheats, the flammable electrolyte can ignite and cause an explosion. Lithium-ion batteries are particularly prone to overheating in e-cigarettes.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 195 reports of exploding e-cigarettes from 2009-2016. This number has been increasing exponentially. Common causes of e-cigarette explosions include:
- Overcharge of the battery
- Exposure to outside heat
- Short circuits
- Internal cell fault
Injuries Caused by Defective E-cigarettes
E-cigarettes are in close proximity to a user’s face, and therefore, there is a serious risk of catastrophic injury. Common injuries resulting from defective e-cigarettes include:
- Mouth injuries
- Dental injuries
- Eye injuries
- Shrapnel injuries
In June of 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidance for e-cigarette manufacturers. The agency recommends that manufacturers provide detailed information about the batteries used in their products. In addition, it is recommended that manufacturers develop plans for addressing the likelihood of overheating and explosion. However, the agency has failed to issue any warning letters to manufacturers regarding the potential for batteries to overheat and explode.
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
If you have been injured by a defective product you should consult with an experienced product liability attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by defective products. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.