Causes Of E-cigarette Explosions

Causes Of E-cigarette Explosions

Smoking e-cigarettes, also known as "vaping," is a rapidly growing alternative to smoking cigarettes in the U.S. Introduced to the market in 2007, sales of e-cigarettes are estimated to be worth around $1.5 billion each year in the U.S. alone, with more than 2.5 million Americans using the products. They're marketed as the healthier alternative to regular cigarettes, and are primarily used by people attempting to cut back or quit their smoking habits. 

Like with any new product, the question of how safe these devices really are has come up with increasing frequency. According to a report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there were 25 separate incidents of explosions and fire involving e-cigarettes between 2009 and 2014 reported in the media.According to FEMA, there were 10 injuries and no deaths associated with the 25 explosions, and the majority of the incidents occurred while the battery was charging.

Without independent safety testing of e-cigarettes and their batteries, there is no guarantee that the circuits designed to limit the amount of time the heating elements in the lithium-ion batteries will work as intended, and could potentially lead to catastrophic failure.

The full details of how lithium-ion batteries explode are included in FEMA's report, but the way e-cigarette batteries explode is different from other consumer devices because they are installed in a cylindrical device. The weakest structural points are at either ends of the casing. When the battery seal ruptures, the pressure will build and instantly cause it to fail. When the battery and/or container fails, one or both can be rocketed across the room.

FEMA believes that during that timeframe there were incidents not reported to the media or fire departments, but they broke down the available information into these six points:

  • 20 explosions occurred while charging the battery
  • 2 explosions occurred while the e-cigarette was being used
  • In 2 explosions, it is not clear if the e-cigarette was in use or being charged
  • 1 explosion occurred while being transported on a cargo aircraft
  • No deaths were reportedly caused by e-cigarette explosions
  • Several burn injuries, including two serious cases were caused by e-cigarette explosions

Most of these explosions caused nearby items like vehicle seats, bedding, drapes, couches, and carpets to catch fire. In the FEMA report, they broke down the frequency and severity of the fires caused by e-cigarette explosions:

  • 52 percent of explosions resulted in minor fire spread
  • 32 percent of explosions resulted in moderate fire spread
  • 12 percent of explosions resulted in unreported fire spread
  • 1 percent of explosions resulted in the loss of an entire room and its contents

If you or a loved one has been injured in an e-cigarette explosion, contact the Wyatt Law Firm today through our website or call us today at {F:P:Sub:Phone} to set up a free case consultation. Our San Antonio personal injury lawyers will work hard for you because we understand what's at stake. We have been successfully serving our clients for 25 years, and we have the resources necessary to go toe-to-toe with major insurance companies, corporations, and manufacturers.


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