Consumers have turned to e-cigarettes as an alternative way to get a nicotine fix without the harmful effects of smoking a traditional cigarette. However, defective e-cigarettes pose an entirely new set of risks that have become increasingly dangerous.
In 2017, more than 120 lawsuits were filed in the United States by plaintiffs who were either hurt or killed by an exploding e-cigarette.
Plaintiffs consistently complain that U.S. distributors import their vaporizer products from China in order to minimize costs and have poor quality control testing. Defendants and advocates of vaping are alleging that e-cigarette-related injuries are largely due to user error and manipulation of the products. Despite the possibility that lithium batteries may be an unsafe energy source for these types of devices, there are no regulatory standards directly applicable to e-cigarettes, leaving it up to the manufacturer to determine the safety of its products.
Although originally intended to provide a healthier alternative to inhaling cigarette smoke, the potential risks associated with using e-cigarettes may outweigh the benefits.
How Serious Are E-cigarette Explosions?
E-cigarette explosions are largely caused by the infamous lithium batteries, which have caused similar explosions and forced the recall of other electronic devices, including Dell laptop computers and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. However, e-cigarettes are even more dangerous because of the proximity of the device to the mouth. In many cases, the devices have spontaneously exploded in the user’s mouth or hands, leading to severe chemical injuries. According to medical literature, blast injuries have led to tooth loss, traumatic tattooing and extensive loss of soft tissue, requiring surgical operations.
Know Your Rights: Who Is Liable for E-Cigarette Explosions?
Consumers have filed both product liability and personal injury lawsuits for e-cigarette explosions. In general, the claims filed in these lawsuits have stated:
- Negligence on behalf of the manufacturer or of the distributor for failing to alert consumers of the dangers.
- Defective design of the device, making it unreasonably dangerous even when used properly.
- Injuries resulting from explosions that require medical attention.
Victims who have suffered from a malfunctioning product are also being victimized by expensive medical bills linked to their injuries.