While many people, former cigarette smokers in particular, may switch over to “e-cigarettes” (or “e-cigs”) or “vapes” because they believe them to be less harmful, the reality is quite different.
Multiple people have suffered serious burns and bodily injuries from e-cigarettes that they have purchased and used. Furthermore, the potential medical consequences and health hazards from e-cigs are not yet fully understood, because the product has not been on the market for long enough.
These smoking devices are fairly new consumer products; they were released throughout the U.S. in 2007. Today, the number of brands, flavors and models is astronomical, especially considering this is a recent product.
E-cigs have been thought of as smoking alternatives because they provide a cloud of vapor after heating a mixture of nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. The product itself is complex: it has a cartridge to hold the formula, an atomizer which is used to supply heat to the formula to then dispense it as a vapor cloud, batteries and more. In other words, it has plenty of parts which could, if not properly regulated and maintained, fail, thus causing serious injuries and burns. And the truth is, this product has failed, and the consequences of that failure have been shouldered by the consumers who were injured by the product.
Safety Research and Strategies, Inc. (SRSI) is a vehicle and product safety organization that provides fact-based research and analysis on damages and injuries sustained from or by a diverse range of consumer products. The SRSI estimates that the e-cig industry is a $2.5 billion dollar conglomerate and that there are approximately 2.5 million e-cig consumers across the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Fire Administration are two agencies which have received complaints on electronic cigarettes. Some of the complaints made to the FDA were in regard to burns from e-cigarettes.
Interestingly, a recent study determined that out of 151 vape explosions, 25 happened while the e-cig was being moved/stored, 69 happened while the e-cig’s battery was charging, 41 occurred while the e-cig was being used and 16 had something to do with removable, external batteries.
While the e-cigarettes are new and exciting to some users, to others they are seriously dangerous and harmful. Furthermore, e-cigs are under minimal regulations and have not yet been cited as under the FDA’s jurisdiction. Although the FDA has published proposals in regards to e-cigarettes, it merely evaluates them as cigarettes and not as electronic, dangerous devices.
Even though the FDA hasn’t been able to regulate e-cigs, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has officially released an interim rule that completely disallows e-cigarettes or vapes from being present in checked baggage, as well as prohibiting the charging of their batteries while in-flight or onboard an airplane.
These small steps are being taken to limit the potentially deadly, but certainly dangerous, risks of burns of e-cigarettes.
Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger can help answer your questions. If you or any of your loved were injured due to a faulty or dangerous product and you’d like to contact a lawyer, we here at Galfand Berger, LLP can help. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.