Since hitting the market in 2007, e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, with sales expected to reach $1.5 billion in 2015. There are now roughly over four hundred brands of e-cigarettes with over seven thousand different flavors. In addition to the ongoing debate about the health risks of electronic cigarettes, numerous reports of the devices spontaneously exploding have resulted in further controversy.
The U.S. Fire Administration conducted an examination of twenty-five media reports of exploding e-cigarettes, and found that 80% of the incidents occurred while the e-cig was charging. Two of these incidents happened with the device in the user’s mouth, causing serious injuries. One report indicates that the device exploded while in the user’s pocket. When these explosions occur, the injuries can be devastating, with reports of severe facial burns, fractured bones, and loss of vision. Often times, there is no warning or precursor to the explosion.
The devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Extreme temperatures can cause these batteries to malfunction and explode; the electrolyte inside the battery has been called “the equivalent of gasoline” by one mechanical engineering professor. While a well-made lithium-ion cell poses a low risk of failure, the cheaper ones have a much greater chance of harboring a manufacturing defect. This risk increases if the cells are overcharged or charged too quickly.
Presently, the FDA has been waiting for approval to regulate electronic cigarettes.
For decades, the experienced attorneys at Swartz & Lynch have provided legal representation to victims of defective products. If you have been injured because of the negligence of another or because of an unreasonably safe product, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.