Consumers are increasingly turning to e-cigarettes as a way to get a nicotine fix, without smoking’s well-documented risks. But defective vape components may cause more harm, than good, to your health.
Inside an e-cigarette (“vape pen”) there is: a heating element (atomizer/cartomizer) to vaporize a liquid solution usually containing a mixture of: Propylene glycol (a flavor enhancer); vegetable glycerin (vapor enhancer); nicotine (non-nicotine versions available); flavorings. In order to work safely, all these components must be engineered and tested, mechanically and chemically, to not create unknown harms to their users.
Unfortunately, though, not all e-cigarettes or vape components are receiving the exacting engineering or testing needed to make them safe for use. Between 2009 and 2014, at least 25 people have been injured by exploding e-cigs, and doctors at the University of Washington note they are seeing “about two such patients each month.”
Why Are E-Cigarettes Exploding?
Recently, an e-cig battery spontaneously combusted on a flight from Denver to Los Angeles in a Hollywood producer’s bag. Fires resulting from e-cigarettes during charging have destroyed homes in the middle of the night, leaving little behind but ashes and charred memories.
In many cases, the device spontaneously explodes in the users’ pocket or hands, leading to blast and chemical injuries. And, because of the cylindrical design of the batteries in e-cigarettes, the explosions create a unique hazard:
The weakest parts of the battery and e-cigarette are the ends. When pressure within the battery builds up rapidly, the e-cigarette ruptures at the weakest point, propelling the battery like a bullet out of a gun.
Injuries from vape explosions tend to occur to the groin or thigh (53%), and hands (33%), according to medical literature. But one in five injuries (20%) occur to the face, potentially blowing out teeth and leaving patients with “traumatic tattoos” which they will bear for the rest of their lives.
How are E-Cigarette Batteries Catching Fire?
Nearly all of the electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries are flammable or combustible. The batteries “fail,” or catch fire and explode, due to elevated temperatures in the battery, which then create additional heat and gas.
Essentially: if the heat cannot dissipate faster than it generates, a runaway chain reaction and heat build-up occurs, leading to a fire or explosion.
In general, the heat in the battery may come from any number of sources, including: over-charging (or over discharging), short circuits, or even overheating from an external heat source. A majority of fires and explosions appear to be from overcharging the device, by charging with an incompatible power adapter, incorrect USB port, or overcharging with an unprotected battery.
Too many times, a battery failure occurs without warning: because of an internal defect, or when a poorly-designed loose battery comes in contact with metal, such as coins or keys. With such spontaneous e-cigarette explosions, the failure may occur a victim’s pocket , purse, or car, causing the batteries to spontaneously erupt, without warning, and inflict injuries requiring medical attention.
But, only poor-quality batteries, which are equipped with limited safety features or are damaged during manufacturing, lead to such spontaneous, explosions. NASA has had information documenting the safety of lithium-ion batteries for decades, showing properly designed and manufactured lithium-ion batteries should prevent most failures.
Which begs the question: if these harms are fully preventable, why aren’t manufacturers and sellers taking the appropriate steps to ensure the vape batteries they make and sell are actually safe?
Corporations and retailers know better than to use poor-quality, failure-prone batteries in their products, and yet they continue to place unsafe products in the hand and mouths, of U.S. consumers. They must be held accountable for these products, and the harms they are causing to innocent users.
Victims of manufacturers’ negligence should not have to suffer twice: first, through excruciating injuries and then painful medical bills. Negligent manufacturers (and sellers) should compensate their victims for their failure to engineer or test batteries appropriately (or sell products of reasonable quality and safety) which could easily have prevented the injuries.
In Washington, four victims have filed suit against makers and sellers of unsafe e-cigarettes for their injuries resulting from e-cig explosions, including second and third-degree burns and other injuries requiring multiple bone grafts and reconstructive surgeries.
E-cigarette burn lawsuits such as these are canaries in the coal mine, pointing to future e-cigarette class-action lawsuits against makers and sellers of defective vape batteries, by injured & unsuspecting users.
Free Consultation: Contact Our Team of Attorneys Now
The FDA plans to discuss potential rules and regulations regarding e-cigs safety soon, but relief will not come soon enough for consumers who have already fallen victim to accidents resulting from unsafe e-cigarettes and their components, who cannot afford to wait for Washington to finally act.
If you have been victim to a fire, explosion, or other injury resulting from an e-cigarette battery, you should not have to wait to receive the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free consultation online or call us now at 888-285-3333.