You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a smoker who has not tried, or at least considered, giving up rolled tobacco for electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigs. These alternative nicotine delivery systems eliminate the smoke from the smoking habit by using a lithium-ion battery to heat an aerosol cartridge that releases an inhalable vapor.
E-cigs have grown popular in the last decade and are often touted as the lesser of two evils when compared to smoking tobacco. Similarly, the e-cig’s cannabis cousins — vape pens — are also popular for delivering the desired drug without some of the negative health impacts associated with smoking. But there is mounting evidence that smokers are replacing one dangerous habit with another, according to Wired.
Danger Delivery Systems?
While the data is thin, there are reports of exploding e-cigs causing burns, facial fractures, missing teeth, driving accidents and more. Where the pen explodes will make a big difference in injury. For example, a Tennessee teen was reportedly burned by an e-cig in his pocket, which is maybe not so terrible, but last year a man suffered a broken neck, lost teeth, had facial fractures and burns from an e-cig that exploded in his face.
Just last month, a truck driver in Indiana drove into a highway guardrail when his e-cig exploded during use. No one was hurt and Indiana State Highway Patrol troopers said it was the first such incident they had seen.
But apparently other sources have been collecting information about the alternative drug delivery systems, and the news does not seem to be good. Strangely, of all agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been gathering information and reports 25 incidents of exploding e-cigs between 2009 and 2014.
The numbers don’t seem so alarming perhaps — 25 cases in 6 years. But Wired notes that the total is based on FEMA’s collected media reports and may not reflect the actual extent of injury and damage caused by e-cigs.
Unlike smoking, the danger of the exploding e-cigs seems to lie in the battery. Exploding lithium-ion batteries have caused problems before, and we use them in a lot of goods, like laptops. But cheap consumer gadgets are particularly susceptible to short circuiting in temperature extremes. Hover-boards suffer from a similar weakness.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you or someone you know is injured from an exploding e-cig, vape pen, laptop, hoverboard, or any other defective product, speak to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or no fee and will be happy to assess your case.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- States Far Ahead of FDA in E-Cig Regulations (FindLaw’s Common Law)
- Is It Legal to Ban E-Cigarettes at Work (FindLaw’s Free Enterprise)