Electronic cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. Some smokers are turning to "vaping" in an effort to stop smoking. Product liability litigation is pending as a result of the devices exploding and causing significant injuries to the users.
Unfortunately, this method of inhaling nicotine is not without its risks and those risks reach beyond the use of the addictive substance. While there are health risks from nicotine, the device itself may pose risks. As a result of the electronic cigarette exploding, the user could suffer personal injury. In prior cases involving explosions of an e-cig, users suffered damage to their teeth and suffered burns to the face and body. The devices have also exploded in the pockets of users. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 2.5 million individuals are using e-cigs in the United States and the number is rapidly growing. This is clearly concerning.
Beyond the health hazards of vaping and inhaling nicotine, flavoring and solutions containing propylene glycol, the device itself could pose a danger. Electric cigarettes and vaporizers are battery operated. The lithium batteries in the portable devices are recharged using a universal USB port. The primary cause of exploding electronic cigarettes appears to be the lithium battery overheating. The U.S. Fire Administration describes these events as rare, but consistent with lithium-ion battery explosions. Unlike cell phones or laptops, the battery in a vaporizer is cylindrical and not encased in a flexible plastic pouch. Perhaps that is why the U.S. Fire Administration acknowledges that the "shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like 'flaming rockets' when a battery fails."
In Illinois, a new law goes into effect in June that minors caught with electronic cigarettes will be ticketed $100 or required to serve up to 30 hours of community service. State law already prohibits the sale of tobacco cigarettes to anyone under age 18.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a vaporizer or any other product failure, contact the experienced product liability attorneys at Rubin, Machado & Rosenblum, Ltd. today.