The rise of the e-cigarettes or vape pens brings with it a host of dangers-and not just those associated with addiction. Increasingly, we are learning that the composition of the e-cigarette or vape pen itself actually makes it dangerous to its users. A recent case out of Texas showed first-hand the dangers of e-cigarettes, and the tragic consequences that can accompany their use. In this instance, a young man was killed after using a vape pen, where the battery failed and caused the device to explode.
The Texas case is not an anomaly, either. In recent years, e-cigarette or vape pen explosions have occurred with rapidly increasing frequency, including 31 incidents within the Navy, many of which occurred due to battery explosions.
Lithium-ion batteries power e-cigarettes or vape pens, and it is these batteries that are largely responsible for the explosions and injuries that e-cigarettes have caused. A report by the US Surgeon General explained that when a lithium battery is overcharged, it can create something known as thermal runaway, which can lead to the battery catching on fire and becoming a projectile.
Though lithium-ion batteries commonly power the technological devices that we use, the structure of an e-cigarette or vape pen causes a battery failure to be much more serious. The end of an e-cigarette or vape pen is both the weakest point of the device, and the point where the battery seal resides. Therefore, when the battery overheats, it often damages the container as well, causing its propulsion and the chance for severe damage.
From a legal perspective, e-cigarette or vape battery failures can be very complicated cases. Principally, these are product liability cases. There may be claims against the manufacturer of the batteries under an unsafe manufacturing theory. There may also be cases against distributors and sellers if these companies were aware of potential dangers of the batteries and did not warn customers.
Since e-cigarettes and vape pens are a relatively new phenomenon, the danger of lithium-ion batteries needs to be addressed by manufacturers before these occurrences become more commonplace. The FDA provides a variety of suggestions for maintaining the device’s safety, as well as instructions on charging and storing the batteries, though dangers with these batteries still exist even when the consumer uses the product as intended.
What Should You Do if You are Harmed by an E-Cigarette?
If an e-cigarette or vape pen has harmed you or a loved one, a Massachusetts product liability attorney can help you understand your options. Our attorneys can help people injured by e-cigarettes in all phases of their claim. We will dedicate our firm’s significant resources to getting injured clients top dollar for their cases. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Mirick O’Connell today if you or a loved one have been injured by an e-cigarette. We will provide a free and confidential consultation about your case.