Americans have heard for decades that smoking and using other tobacco products are harmful to their health. In response, e-cigarettes and other electronic devices arose to mimic the sensation of smoking but to reduce the harm presented by the activity. Reports now indicate that the e-cigarette industry brought in more than $2.5 billion in sales in 2014 alone in the United States, making it a serious factor in the lives of millions of Americans. The use of e-cigarettes, often referred to as vaping, has now become more popular among teens than actually smoking.
But as these devices have seen a rise in popularity, so has the number of accidents and injuries associated with them risen. Reports from all across the country have concluded that e-cigarettes and vape pens have a tendency to explode or combust when users least expect it, often leading to harm to an intended user or that user’s property.
Now, a new incident has been reported involving an e-cigarette that left a man blind in one eye and with severe damage to his face.
The victim of this recent incident claims that he was working at his computer with an electronic cigarette nearby when the e-cigarette suddenly exploded, sending shrapnel towards his face and beyond his head. He claims the e-cigarette eventually landed on top of a work area where it caught fire. Unfortunately, several pieces of shrapnel were lodged inside the man’s eye and his orbital and sinus bones were broken.
Upon presentation at a hospital, physicians determined that the man’s eye needed to be removed and he will need additional treatment to reconstruct some of the bones in his face.
Vapes have come under scrutiny recently as similar reports become more and more common. Often, safety officials have linked these explosions to the failures of batteries inside the e-cigarettes themselves where the majority of devices use lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are used in a number of electronic devices including laptops and cell phones. Recently, hoverboards made news when several lithium-ion batteries in those devices caught fire.
Lithium-ion batteries are most likely to fail when they become overheated which can happen if the device is stored in the sun, stored in a hot environment, overused or used continuously, or if a fire happens near the device. In some instances, it is not clear what caused a lithium-ion battery to fail.
The facts surrounding the safety of vaping, vape pens, and e-cigarettes are still emerging but until the problems with safety are resolved, consumers will continue to be injured and will continue to pay the price for faulty devices.
Prior Blog Entry:
Accidents Likely as the School Year Ends, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published May 25, 2016.
Blinded in One Eye by an Exploding Vape, by Mike Heuer, Courthouse News Service, published May 25, 2016.