Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs) have been gaining in popularity since they were introduced almost a decade ago as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking. Conventional cigarettes burn, creating a smoke of tobacco and other substances. E-cigs, on the other hand, contain a battery-powered heating coil that vaporizes liquid (which contains nicotine and flavoring) into a kind of smoke which the user then inhales. While they may be better for your lungs than traditional smoking, they are not necessarily safer. The reason is that the lithium-ion batteries that power e-cigarettes sometimes catch fire without warning, causing serious injuries. While this product defect has been known for years, there is evidence that the problem of exploding e-cigarettes is actually getting worse.
Defective e-cigarettes have the potential to cause devastating personal injuries, especially since victims have said that there is little to no indication that something is wrong with the device or its batteries before the explosion happens. Making matters worse is that an e-cig is very close to your face when you are using it, and probably stored in your pocket when you are not. Victims have been permanently disfigured and some have suffered burn injuries so severe that they require skin grafts. However, despite widespread news coverage of this issue, medical professionals have noticed an increase in e-cig injury cases this year.
Why Are Injuries from Exploding E-Cigarettes Becoming More Common?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found only 92 reports of exploding electronic cigarettes from 2009 – 2015, but have reported 134 cases just since the beginning of this year. Part of the reason for this big difference is that fires and malfunctions likely went largely unreported in previous years. Another contributing factor is that the popularity of e-cigarettes has grown rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 4 percent of Americans are regular users, while 13 percent have tried the devices. More users means a higher chance for more malfunctions.
The FDA is currently reviewing a stricter set of guidelines to oversee the e-cigarette industry. However, advocates of these alternatives to cigarettes point out that fires caused by traditional cigarettes account for more than 3,000 injuries and 1,000 deaths a year. Meanwhile, individual and class action product liability lawsuits have been filed in several states against e-cigarette manufactures and the companies that produce the batteries that power them. Certain models have been recalled, but according to emergency room doctors, serious chemical and burn injuries are still on the rise.
Our Missouri and Illinois personal injury attorneys can answer your questions about products liability an e-cigarette injuries. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.