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E-Cigarette Explosions Lead to Serious Burn Injuries

These days, when it is harder to smoke in public places, and due to all of the health problems associated with smoking in general, many are turning to e-cigarettes as an alternative.  Smoking e-cigarettes, or vaping as it often called, involves loading an electronic cigarette with a nicotine and flavor cartridge or filling it with liquid nicotine and then smoking it as normal cigarette without the need to light it.

fuego-1178889-300x225A small battery inside the device will activate a system designed to vaporize the liquid, so the user can inhale it. The user will inhale and exhale the vapor, and it is claimed that provide the desired effects of nicotine without the dangers of smoking.  In reality, there has not been much testing on the practice of vaping, and there is no long-term usage data, so scientists do not know if these claims are true.

However, if the e-cigarette catches on fire or explodes while a person is vaping, we do know that there is high chance it will result in serious personal injury, including severe burns.  As these e-cigarettes are becoming more and more popular, the number of emergency room victims for vaping-related serious burn injuries are also increasing in relative numbers.

One of the issues is that the devices were largely unregulated until recently, and now that it has been classified as a drug delivery device, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be able to have oversight in the design, testing, and marketing aspects of the vaping industry.

It should also be noted that e-cigarettes are not all the same.  Some are designed to look like a standard cigarette and are even disposable and come in a traditional looking pack.  Others are more complete and are made from various components sold at these vapor shops. Some people use large electronics boxes known as box mods and walk around with almost comically large partially homemade e-cigarettes that resemble an old handheld radio more than a cigarette.

The reason for these serious burn injuries in Boston and other places is that the batteries in these devices are either exploding or catching on fire.  There have been cases when they have burst into flames while in a victim’s back pocket, resulting in painful third degree burns all the way down the thigh, according to a recent news feature from the Seattle Times.

There have also been cases where a parent’s e-cigarette caught the bed on fire while sleeping with an infant or young child, and this resulted in at least one two-year-old being seriously burned.  Another victim had his e-cigarette explode in his front pocket, resulting in burns to 10 percent of his body, including his genitals.

The problem is that in order to vaporize the nicotine liquid, the devices must be able to get very hot very quickly.  It would not be a big seller if the user had to wait to heat up the cigarette before each inhalation.  The manner in which the chemical is vaporized is through the use of a lithium-ion battery.

If you are injured in an accident in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:Exploding e-cigarette batteries sending more burn victims to Seattle hospital, June 11, 2016, The Seattle Times, By JoNel Aleccia

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Wilkins v. City of Haverhill – Massachusetts Supreme Court Weighs Slip-and-Fall Claim, May 23, 2014, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog