Over the past few years, vape pens and e-cigarettes have become immensely popular as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid, usually containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. It is estimated that at least one in 10 adults has tried electronic cigarettes.
The attraction of electronic cigarettes is their manufacturers claim that they do not pose the same hazardous side effects or smell that tobacco cigarettes do, yet they still provide that shot of nicotine that many smokers are addicted to. However, across the country, users of electronic cigarettes have been put at high risk of injury from malfunctioning devices.
E-cigarettes have been available for approximately 10 years and in that time there have been many users who have sustained serious injuries when the device they were using caught on fire or exploded. According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Fire Administration, in the first seven years on the market, there were almost 200 reports of victims experiencing fire and explosion incidents. As the devices become more popular, those numbers continue to increase.
The most common cause of these tragic accidents comes from the powerful lithium-ion batteries that make the e-cigarette work. These types of batteries have a history of explosions and fires when they are overcharged. Because these devices are used so close to smokers’ faces, when a fire or explosion does occur, the victim is often left with disfigurement, scarring, and other severe injuries.
Several months ago, a 38-year-old man was found dead, in his home in Florida. The man had burns all over his body and a deep wound to his top lip. An investigation revealed that the man was smoking an e-cigarette when it exploded, killing the victim.
Other incidents over the years include an e-cigarette exploding in the face of North Carolina firefighter, who said that when the explosion occurred, hot oil hit him in his face. The victim sustained injuries to one of his eyes. That injury still affects his eyesight four years after the incident.
A Kentucky man suffered second-degree burns when the battery of an e-cigarette that he had in his pocket exploded after it came in contact with loose change that was also in the pocket.
In order to avoid these types of incident, safety advocates recommend that you only use the charger that comes with the battery and that it has an automatic shutoff device, so it can’t overcharge. It is also recommended that users do not carry the battery out of its case, in a pocket or bag. Batteries can short out if they make contact with keys or coins, like the victim in Kentucky, which can cause an explosion.
Contact a Virginia Injury Attorney
If you have been injured by a defective or dangerous product, contact a Virginia defective product attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. You may be entitled to financial compensation for any losses you have suffered, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as compensation for the pain your injuries have caused.
After graduating cum laude from law school at the University of Richmond, Seth practiced personal injury law out of Roanoke, Virginia and in Hampton, Virginia before joining Shapiro & Appleton where he represents personal injury clients in both state and federal courts. In 2016, he was named as a Virginia “Rising Star” lawyer by Super Lawyer’s magazine, an honor bestowed upon only 2.5% of attorneys in the state.