Compact electronic smoking devices, or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), have been linked to property damage and personal injury after catching fire or exploding. Injured users across the country have begun to file suit against several different parties involved in the supply chain. These suits seek to hold the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of e-cigs accountable for selling a defective and dangerous product.
E-cigarettes have been linked to hundreds of injuries ranging from second and third degree burns, to life-threatening explosions. This has happened as a result of manufacturers using poorly sourced Lithium Ion batteries, as well as opting out of using overcharging technology.
Injuries have happened while e-cigs are in use, and even idly stored in pockets. The battery technology used in e-cigs is so dangerous, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has taken measures to ensure they are not used on flights.
Those affected by e-cig burns and property damage have begun to file lawsuits across America. These lawsuits claim that either the manufacturers, distributors or retailers of these products, willfully sold them a defective and dangerous device.
Why Are E-Cigs Used?
An electronic cigarette (colloquially known as a vape or e-cig) is a handheld, battery powered device designed to recreate the feeling of smoking. It does this by heating a liquid, or “juice, made of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, and flavorings. Once heated, the “juice” forms a vapor aerosol, which is how the practice of smoking an e-cig became known as vaping. These devices are generally powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can overheat, causing burns, fire, and explosions.
Many people have turned to e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. The devices have been marketed as “less addictive” and “safer” than their dried tobacco counterparts such as cigars and cigarettes. These smokeless vape does not produce a lingering odor, which many longtime smokers find appealing.
E-Cigarettes in the News
There are numerous reports of e-cigarettes catching fire in placing ranging from a users pocket, to a house fire in Florida where one man died. In 2018, Tallmadge D’Elia, 38, was found dead inside his house in St. Petersburg. He had been vaping for a number of years to cut down on cigarettes. D’Elia had injuries consistent with explosion from a vape pen, which then triggered the fire.
Deputy Fire Marshall, Lt. Steven Lawrence, said, “From the information we gathered on scene through process of elimination, we narrowed it down that the ignition source was a vape that was being used.”
Another injury involved a New York man, who’s legs and hands were severely burnt after a smokeless device exploded in his pocket. Otis Gooding of Queens, was working in Grand Central Terminal when his pocket started sparking.
Seconds after the “sparking and sizzling” began, his co-workers witnessed his pant leg explode. “Out of nowhere, a huge explosion came from one of my co-worker’s pockets. It just shot at us,” said Byron Gonzalez, who witnessed the ordeal.
This horrific ordeal was captured on surveillance video:
Gooding is just one of hundreds who has experienced the devastating results of e-cigarette fires.
Vaping isn’t just threatening to the user, it can also injure bystanders and small children. In Utah, the son of Kinzie Barlow suffered first and second degree burns after Barlow’s vape pen exploded while charging in the car. The explosion caused the copper coil to fly into her son’s car seat.
E-cigarette and the FDA
While the popularity of vaping has risen dramatically as users try to cut back on smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes have caused dramatic injuries that could be avoided.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scrambling to catch up with the rise and popularity of e-cigarettes. The risk of injury in vaping is so prevalent, the agency has issued a webpage dedicated to ways to prevent explosion. Similarly, the FDA and US government are concerned about teen vaping, which has become nearly an epidemic.
Those injured in e-cig fires and explosions have begun to file suit, en masse, against manufacturers, distributors and retailers. These suits seek accountability from the suppliers of these dangerous devices. The e-cigarette industry has aggressively fought recall requests in an effort to save their lucrative industry. It is expected to hit over $60 billion by 2025 worldwide.