Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. For decades, smokers have been urged to quit by chewing gum, taking medications, wearing patches, and, most recently, by using electronic cigarettes. However, e-cigs provide their own set of risks, a fact that some people often learn only after suffering serious injuries.
Touted as a safe alternative to smoking, e-cigs have surged in popularity over recent years. Users can buy standalone devices at convenient stores, sold by some of the biggest tobacco companies, or they can purchase components like tanks, coils, and batteries and assemble their own e-cigarette. It’s the battery component that is most likely to fail and cause users injuries.
The legal team at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is concerned about the safety of e-cigarette users. These devices are largely unregulated, and consumers are not always informed about the potential risks that come with these devices or the nicotine liquid used in them. If you have suffered injuries related to e-cigs, we suggest you contact our firm to learn more about your legal options.
The Exploding E-Cig
The batteries used to power most large e-cigarettes are lithium-ion batteries, which you may have seen mentioned in the news as being the cause for fires and explosions. Lithium-ion batteries are used in consumer goods, from cell phones to laptops to e-cigs. When the batteries malfunction, they can quickly overheat and explode, causing anyone holding these devices to suffer serious burns.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified 134 incidents in which an e-cigarette battery exploded, overheated, or caught fire. Over 50 people were injured from these explosions. Experts believe that these types of incidents often go unreported, so it is very likely that the number of e-cig battery explosions is much higher.
A defective battery carries the potential to cause great harm to a user. However, these batteries might be more likely to cause users harm if they are mishandled. This is important because users are often sold these devices without being given the proper handling instructions.
Other Safety Concerns Over E-Cigs
In addition to exploding e-cigarette batteries, there are other safety issues that should alarm consumers. Many e-juices contain nicotine liquid, which can be poisonous if ingested. E-cig users are typically aware of this fact, but children are not. E-juice often has a sweet or candy-like scent and flavor, which could make it tempting for an unsuspecting young person. E-cig users should always keep nicotine liquid stored in a safe place where it is locked away from children.
Another possible concern over e-cigs is the health effects of vaping. We simply don’t know the long-term consequences of smoking e-cigarettes because there have been few studies conducted and because the practice of vaping is still relatively new in comparison to smoking traditional tobacco products. In short, there may be fewer health risks in vaping than smoking, but pending more research, there’s no way to know for sure how long-term e-cig use may affect users.
A Growing Industry That Needs More Oversight
A recent report found that e-cig use among high schoolers increased by 900% from 2011 to 2015. E-cigs are not only being used by those seeking a nicotine fix, they are also being used by people who were never smokers. As these devices become more popular, we need to do more to protect consumers.
E-cig users should be instructed how to safely use their devices, including instruction on how to handle lithium-ion batteries. Manufacturers should be held accountable if they sell devices that injure consumers. E-cig battery explosions can cause serious, life-altering burns, which are incredibly painful, expensive, and debilitating.
A burn injury costs a victim in many ways. The direct medical costs of a burn injury are roughly $73,532 per one average adult burn victim, but that figure can vary from one patient to another. Those costs do not include indirect costs, such as lost time at work or loss of work capacity. A burn can also lead to disfigurement, which is almost incalculable in the impact it has on a victim.
If you or a loved one has suffered an electronic cigarette-related injury, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. We are meeting with e-cig injury victims to determine who was at fault for their injuries so the responsible party can be held accountable. We offer free consultations and earn no fee unless we recover money for you.
To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1(800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.