Since their debut on the market in 2007, e-cigarettes have been gaining popularity across the nation. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that over 2.5 million Americans use this device and the number of users is estimated to grow. Marketers highlight e-cigarettes as the safer alternative to regular cigarettes because they use vapor instead of smoke and allegedly have less nicotine. However, recent reports show that these products may pose risks of fires and burns.
WHAT IS AN E-CIGARETTE?
An e-cigarette is an electronic device that is slender and portable. The pen like object consists of three main components - the battery, the atomizer, and the nicotine cartridge or re-fillable tank. The cartridge or tank holds the flavored nicotine. When the user takes a drag, it activates the battery-powered heating coils, which emits vapor that can then be inhaled.
CASES OF FIRES AND BURNS
Because of the numerous incidents of malfunctioning e-cigarettes, the U.S. Fire Administration conductedresearch into the instances. Between 2009 and 2014, they found 25 media reports connecting e-cigarettes and explosions / fires. Studies show that the primary cause of these hazards and injuries is connected to the battery.
E-cigarettes contain lithium-ion batteries. When these are overcharged or improperly handled, they can cause great harm.
The Fire Administration found:
- 20 cases occurred because the battery was overcharged
- Two incidents occurred when the e-cigarettes were idle
- Two cases occurred while the device was in use
- One incident happened in cargo on an aircraft
To understand the magnitude of the dangers these devices pose, it will be helpful to note some cases. A Colorado Springs man suffered a broken neck, shattered teeth, and facial burns / fractures after the device exploded in his face. In 2013, a 3-year-old boy suffered serious burns to his elbow and stomach, while the e-cig was charging near him. A Texas man experienced severe burns on his leg when an e-cig exploded in his pant pocket.
E-cigarettes are currently not federally regulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and the Underwriters Laboratories have all proposed standards and regulations on how to monitor these devices.
Consumers should know the risks they face when they use a product. Manufacturers have a responsibility to check the safety of the products they release on the market. If you suffered severe injuries or property damage because your e-cigarette exploded, contact our San Antonio burn injury attorneys today.