By Pendergast Law on June 28, 2016
E-cigarette and vaporizer burns can be horrendous injuries to users of these products. Being aware of the hazards can help you avoid the dangers these products pose to users.
What are E-Cigarettes and Vaporizers?
An electronic cigarette is essentially a battery-powered vaporizer. The cigarette consists of a mouthpiece, a cartridge or tank, an atomizer, a microprocessor, a battery, and sometimes an LED light on the cigarette end. The atomizer is a heating element that vaporizes liquid in the cartridge or tank. The e-liquid heats up and creates a vapor the user inhales. The vapor is intended to have flavor and texture that is analogous to tobacco smoking. The power source, a rechargeable lithium battery, is often the source of burn and other injuries connected to e-cigarette smoking and vaporizer use.
Injuries Caused by E-cigarettes and Vaporizers
E-cigarettes and vaporizers, according the FDA, are not safer than regular cigarettes and carry some of the same health risks such as lung disease. Furthermore, these devices carry the extra risk of burns and other injuries. The prime cause of e-cigarette injuries is from the rechargeable lithium-ion battery combusting or exploding. There are many reasons the battery may explode or combust. The battery seal may rupture, it may overheat, or the battery may strike against another object such as a coin in a pocket. Lithium ion batteries have been known to explode when charging.
The dangers of combusting or exploding batteries are especially true of off-brand batteries and cross-manufacturer chargers being used. Often lithium-ion batteries manufactured in China using substandard parts cause e-cigarette failure and injuries. When an e-cigarette battery malfunctions, the traumas can be painful. There have been very few recorded cases of e-cigarette injuries, only 25 known cases as of 2014, but these have been damaging. Recorded injuries include facial burns, hand fractures, and eye loss. Burns to other parts of the body, such as deep burns to the groin area, have been recorded when batteries have struck against objects such as coins or keys in pockets.
Liability for Injuries Caused by E-cigarettes and Vaporizers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency that oversees use of tobacco products, does not currently regulate e-cigarettes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has stated that e-cigarettes do not fall under its jurisdiction, and state regulation of e-cigarettes vary. E-cigarettes and vaporizers are essentially unregulated products that do not have standards for liability. It is up to the individual plaintiff to prove manufacturer defect and fault for any product failure after e-cigarette malfunction.