What You Need to Know About E-Cigarette Battery Explosions
Kicking a smoking habit is a great way to lead a healthier lifestyle, but it’s definitely not an easy thing to do. In recent years, thousands of people looking to stop smoking, or at least cut back on it, have turned to e-cigarettes as a way to ease their way out of the habit. E-cigarettes are often seen as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but that’s an idea that’s very highly debatable. Research is still being done on just how safe it is for people to be exposed to e-cigarette vapor and many people believe that using e-cigarettes comes with many of the same health risks as smoking regular tobacco cigarettes.
There’s also a lot of debate over just how safe e-cigarette devices are as a product. Over the past several years, there have been numerous reports of people being injured when their e-cigarette exploded. In many cases, e-cigarettes have exploded while they were being charged, but they have also been known to explode while being carried in a person’s pocket or while being used. E-cigarettes that explode while in a user’s pocket can cause severe burns and injuries to the hip and thigh area, but if one explodes while in a person’s mouth, it can damage teeth and cause burns to the face and hands, in addition to other facial injuries.
According to a study by FEMA, 195 separate cases of e-cigarette explosions were reported by the media in the United States between January 2009 and December 31, 2016. In these cases, 133 people suffered from acute injuries while 38 sustained severe injuries.
In response to these reports, many fans of e-cigarettes have been quick to blame user error for the explosions. They’ll say the user wasn’t using a correct charger for their device, that they modified their e-cigarette device incorrectly, or that the person was carrying an e-cigarette in a pocket with loose change, causing the battery to short out. While user error might account for some of the explosions, it doesn’t seem to always be the case. In a list of reported e-cigarette explosions compiled by Mother Jones in 2014, there’s a case of a woman who had an e-cigarette explode when she simply tried to remove it from the package. In 2013, a woman had her e-cigarette charging in her car, using a factory-issued charger, when it exploded, causing burns to her son.
One of the biggest issues with e-cigarettes is that they’re powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Although these types of batteries are very common and are widely used in devices like laptops and cell phones, defective lithium ion batteries can be extremely dangerous. Faulty lithium-ion batteries were responsible for the big Samsung Note 7 recall and all those stories about exploding hoverboards. Like hoverboards, a vast majority of e-cigarette devices and e-cigarette components are manufactured in China, where product safety standards and oversight are virtually non-existent. Product safety regulators in the United States have been struggling to keep up with demand for e-cigarettes and develop safety standards for them, which is very difficult to do since e-cigarettes can vary greatly in design, function, and complexity.
Not all e-cigarettes are created equally and some higher quality ones have overcharge protection, which helps prevent them from exploding. But another factor which makes matters worse for consumers is the fact that many Chinese factories produce counterfeit versions of higher quality e-cigarettes which lack the safety features and overall quality of the authentic version.
If you’ve been injured in an e-cigarette explosion, contact a defective product lawyer as soon as possible. It’s often difficult to pinpoint the cause of an e-cigarette explosion and since so many people are quick to blame users for causing the explosions, it’s important to have someone on your side who fully understands product liability law and how it applies to your case.