The Perils of Vaping

Can I file a lawsuit if I am injured by an exploding e-cigarette?

Cigars and cigarettes contain known carcinogens and the number of smokers continues to decline each year. That being said, people still like to inhale nicotine mixed with a variety of herbal products, and the use of electronic cigarettes has become increasingly popular. Users of e-cigarettes boast that vaping is a hip, safe, healthy, and technologically advanced method of herbal consumption.

Of course, there are no conclusive health studies backing this claim, and vaping is actually proving to be hazardous. In fact there have been numerous reports of e-cigarettes exploding in pants’ pockets or in people’s faces mid-puff, resulting in significant injuries. A recent story that was broadcast on Facebook detailed the harrowing tale of an Idaho man who suffered serious facial injuries and lost several teeth.

Why do e-cigarettes explode?

E-cigarettes are powered by batteries that heat a liquid consisting of nicotine or herbs and other chemicals. The liquid heats into a vapor which the user then inhales, which is why it’s called vaping. The problem lies with the lithium-ion batteries, which are prone to exploding.

Lithium-ion batteries are used in a variety of consumer products and electronic devices such as laptops, and smartphones, and these batteries are known to cause fires. The exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7s that led the company to recall 2.5 million of the devices briefly focused the public’s attention on the dangers of lithium-ion batteries.

The reason that e-cigarettes are exploding stems from the design of these devices. Because of their cylindrical shape, the weakest structural points is at the ends. When the battery fails, these devices have the potential to explode. These failures often stem from a fire that starts in the battery. In particular, lithium-ion batteries contain electrolyte solutions that are highly flammable. If the solution overheats, it can reach its boiling point and then the solution rapidly expands, starts to burn and then the battery explodes.

These explosions can also be caused by a manufacturing defect, such as a short circuit or because of a punctured cell. Packed inside of a e-cigarette, these batteries can cause the container to explode with great force. Because, these devices can be propelled across a room like a bullet, an explosion that occurs when a user is inhaling can lead to significant injuries.

In the end, if you were injured because of an exploding e-cigarette, you may be able to pursue a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. The J&Y law firm fights for injury victims in Northern and Southern California.