Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have only been on the market for a couple of years, but personal injury lawyers are seeing more cases arise from injuries caused by using the devices. A typical e-cigarette consists of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, an atomizer and a replaceable or refillable liquid cartridge. They work by using a battery to heat up a coil, which heats the liquid nicotine and creates an inhalable vapor.
Many of the personal injury cases tied to e-cigarettes involve users being seriously burned by the devices. A recent incident out of Florida left a 21-year-old man in a medically induced coma with severe burns after his device blew up in his face. When the cigarette exploded, the mouth piece went down his throat and exploded again. Doctors said he has internal and external burns and damage to his face, mouth, neck, and lungs from the explosion.
Another man suffered burns to his face and lungs when his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket. In 2014, a home owner in Phoenix found a fire in the bedroom when the cartridge of an e-cigarette overheated while plugged into the charger. The Phoenix home nearly burned to the ground. After dealing with two fires from e-cigarettes in luggage in August 2014 and January 2015, the FDA has banned passengers from carrying the devices in their checked baggage.
E-cigarettes have been the subject of controversy in recent years. The nicotine solutions contain potentially toxic chemicals, which could cause serious harm to the health of the user. No evidence has been presented that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking, which is advertised as a primary reason for switching to one of the devices. The batteries used to power the devices have their own danger. Many e-cigarette batteries lack over-current protection and continue charging even after the battery is fully charged, increasing the chances that the battery will catch fire or explode.
There are some things you can do to reduce your risk of being injured by an e-cigarette, should you choose to use them. Always use the charger supplied with your kit and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the battery from charge when fully charged. Never charge a damaged battery. You should also clean the battery center pin and charger contact at least once a week with tissue or alcohol wipes. If you have been injured by an e-cigarette, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to talk about your options for compensation.