More than 2.5 million Americans use electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes, which use heated vapor to simulate tobacco smoke. What some users may not know is that an e-cigarette’s lithium-ion battery can fail on occasions, leading it to suddenly behave like a flaming rocket in someone’s hand, mouth or pocket and cause severe injuries.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is aware of at least 25 electronic cigarette-related fire and explosion incidents that occurred in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014. As FEMA uncovered that number by conducting an Internet search of media reports, it is likely that other unreported cases of exploding e -cigarettes have occurred. Multiple hospitals, for example, have reported treating electronic cigarette burns to the hands, face and legs, some of which required surgical repair and skin grafts.
Further, most of the 25 incidents reviewed by FEMA resulted in nearby items catching fire, such as carpets, bedding, vehicle seats and more. One reported incident resulted in the loss of a bedroom.
E-Cigarettes are Unregulated
The batteries inside e-cigarettes are small but powerful. When the battery seal ruptures at the end of the battery, the pressure quickly builds inside the e-cigarette and causes it to also rupture. The battery and/or container can then be propelled like a small rocket.
Despite the dangers, there are currently no regulations, codes or laws that apply to the safety of e-cigarettes’ electronic components or batteries, according to FEMA. While many consumer products are required to be tested by a nationally recognized test laboratory, e-cigarettes are not required to undergo product safety testing.
What to Do if You Were Injured
After victims receive medical care for their injuries, it’s important they protect their legal rights as soon as possible. If you or a loved one was burned by an exploding e-cigarette, contact Anapol Weiss for assistance. We can investigate the situation and answer your legal questions.