Are you Carrying a “Flaming Rocket” in Your Pocket?

e-cigarette injuriesOn Wednesday, a California man’s electronic cigarette (also known as an e-cig or vape) exploded inside the pocket of his pants causing severe injury. The blast caused third degree burns, and the man who was rushed to the hospital. Shortly before the explosion, the man reported the device became very hot. Video of the incident is available here. While e-cigarettes may seem like a harmless alternative to smoking, they pose significant hidden risks.

If you’re carrying an e-cig in your pocket, you may be carrying a ticking time bomb and not even know it. FEMA has referred to the devices as “flaming rockets” for the explosions caused by component failure. This is because when the battery seal erupts, pressure builds very quickly within the device and “can be propelled across the room like a bullet or small rocket.” Some members of Congress have even called for the devices to be recalled in response to their dangerous history.

Since becoming available in 2007, e-cigarettes have become very popular with people who are trying to quit smoking. The e-cigarette is an electrical device that allows the user to inhale flavored vapor that contains nicotine. Like all electrical devices, the e-cig carries a risk of overheating and combustion. The three main components of an electronic cigarette are the flavor cartridge, battery, and heating device.

Unfortunately, electronic cigarettes are also popular with teenagers, as the FDA has reported that sixteen percent of high school students use them. The FDA has also received reported side effects from users experiencing breathing problems, disorientation, and seizures while using e-cigs.

The main concern with exploding cigarettes is overheating, particularly e-cigarette devices that do not have an automatic shutoff feature. When the device becomes overheated, it can catch fire or explode. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has determined that 80% of explosions occur while the e-cig is charging. While e-cigarettes use the same type of battery commonly found in laptops and other electronic devices, fires and explosions are much less likely because the battery is housed in hard cases and are a different shape structurally.

Even though e-cigarettes have helped some people stop smoking, the risks may outweigh the rewards. The lithium ion battery pack used by the device has been known to explode while charging as well as in use by the person. An explosion that occurs in use can cause serious injury or even death. One man even reported the device exploded in his mouth.

If you do use an electronic cigarette, exercise caution and always charge the device properly with supervision. The experienced attorneys at Martinson & Beason have handled dangerous drug and device cases for years and are ready to help you today. If you or a loved one has been injured by an e-cigarette or vape pen, contact us today for a free consultation.