Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 at 5:59 pm
Some people who have been struggling to stop smoking tobacco have turned to so called e-cigarettes, also known as vaping. E-cigarettes are touted as a safer alternative to the well known health dangers of long term smoking. However, e-cigarettes have their own risks as has been stated several times already by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The death of William Brown in Fort Worth earlier this year is just one example of what can happen when an e-cigarette user gets hold of a faulty pen.
The Fort Worth accident happened on January 27th this year. Brown had gone to a local vape store, apparently to ask for help with his vape pen, a brand called Mechanical Mod. The owner of the store declined to help him as he said that that type of vape pen was known to have faults. Not long after, Brown was seen clutching his throat and obviously in severe pain. The store owner called for emergency services who arrived swiftly and took Brown to a nearby hospital. Brown died two days later of a stroke that had been caused by an injury to his carotid artery. It appeared that the vape pen had exploded and a piece of the device had lodged in his neck, severing his carotid artery.
Battery faults singled out as cause of explosion accidents
This was not the only accident involving an exploding e-cigarette. There have been several others in other states, although as the FDA has noted, the explosions have not been common and it can be hard to be sure that a particular brand of e-cigarette may or may not be potentially deadly. The other accidents have all involved faults in the chargeable batteries that power the e-cigarette. The battery either gets so hot that it literally explodes under pressure or explodes during recharging. Readers may remember similar faults a couple of years ago with the Lithium ion rechargeable batteries installed in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 cell phones. These batteries caused several severe injuries at unexpected times, including on air flights, eventually leading to Samsung recalling the devices in September 2016.
One incident involving an e-cigarette last year involved the device catching fire when in someone’s pocket. In this case, it seems that it was the contact between the pen and loose change in the North Carolina man’s pocket that may have caused the fire. The victim in this case was severely burned. The man felt the cigarette burning in his pants pocket just before arriving at his home. He leapt out of the car and the cigarette then burst into flames and exploded with shrapnel hitting his face.
A report in July 2017 by the U.S. Fire Administration confirmed that most explosions had at that point mostly occurred when the e-cigarette was in someone’s pocket. The report said that although most of these explosions can be dealt with quite easily, some are potentially deadly.
E-cigarettes not just explosive but potentially toxic
The FDA says that e-cigarette use has exploded amongst younger people in particular. The dangers to users may on the whole be less than smoking tobacco, but they still exist, and not just because of the possibility of battery explosions. Some toxic substances that are known to be present in tobacco smoke are also present when inhaling e-cigarette fumes, although in reduced amounts. These substances are known to be carcinogenic. Added to that are the possible repercussions of faulty batteries or charging methods.
It has been suggested that battery problems can be minimized by carefully reading charging and handling instructions. Leaving them exposed to too much heat or enclosed in pockets for too long may exacerbate battery temperatures and lead to explosion. Part of the problem seems to be the number of different e-cigarettes on the market and the lack of proper regulation. It is just not known at this stage whether the possibility of explosion and fire is something shared by all e-cigarettes or only certain defective brands.
One thing is for sure. If e-cigarette use and vaping continues to expand without proper regulation, there will be more serious injuries and fatalities that will occur in the future. There is no excuse for manufacturing or distributing devices that have been known to have caused unexpected burns and lacerations from flying shrapnel. If this has happened to you, then you should contact a defective product lawyer in San Antonio as soon as you can to discuss what legal action you can take. Contact The Injury Lawyer San Antonio for professional and dedicated legal help at 833-210-4878.