Federal officials are looking into the safety of e-cigarettes, not just from the perspective of its health impacts, but also because there have been reports nationwide of these devices exploding and catching fire, causing severe burn injuries, Healthline reports. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), between 2009 and 2016, there were at least 134 reported incidents of e-cigarettes overheating, catching fire or exploding.
Of those, 56 happened in 2015 and 10 were reported just in January 2016. Federal officials believe there are many more incidents involving e-cigarette explosions and fires that are not being reported. FDA officials began regulating e-cigarettes and other vaping products in August and say they have started to gather information in order to try and make these products safer for consumers.
A majority of the e-cigarette explosions have been connected to the lithium-ion batteries used inside the devices to power them. Lithium-ion batteries have also caused problems recently with other products such as hoverboards and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones. The specific problem with these lithium batteries in e-cigarettes is that they sit close to the combustible liquids that are also being used in these products. In addition, e-cigarettes are held close to the face or placed in purses or pockets.
The FDA is looking into regulations involving battery wattage, type, testing and voltage lockout protections. Manufacturers have warned consumers about refraining from using incompatible batteries and chargers, and about keeping the device away from extreme temperatures and not allowing the device to come in contact with metal objects such as keys, coins or jewelry. However, it is worth noting that e-cigarettes have exploded or ignited even when consumers followed all these instructions.
E-Cigarette Explosion Lawsuits
A number of victims who have been injured in explosions and fires caused by e-cigarettes have filed lawsuits. In March, a California woman filed a lawsuit against the retailer after one of the devices she bought from the store exploded while she was using it and ripped a hole in her mouth. She also suffered acid burns all over her body. There are dozens of these lawsuits that have been filed across the country.
In October 2015, a jury in Southern California awarded $1.9 million to a woman who suffered severe burn injuries when an e-cigarette caught fire as it was being recharged inside her car. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued new rules, which ban passengers and crewmembers from storing e-cigarettes in checked baggage or bring them onboard an aircraft.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an e-cigarette explosion or fire, you may be able to recover compensation from the manufacturer, retailer, distributor or other responsible parties for the damages you have sustained. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Please call the Demas Law Group P.C., at (916) 444-0100 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.