If you vape on a regular basis, please read on.
Vaping as an alternative to cigarette smoking might reduce your risk of lung and other cancers. But the hazards of the batteries that power the e-cigarettes are increasing at an alarming rate. Literally hundreds of people have been injured and maimed, some severely, by exploding batteries. As of July 13 during 2016 alone, at least 50 exploding battery situations in the US have occurred.
Partial List of E-Cig Battery Burn Cases in 2016
We’ve got a short list of burn injuries due to e-cigarette batteries during 2016. Keep in mind this is only 4 stories out of 50 about the appalling burns and related injuries suffered by vapers during the first 6 ½ months of 2016. The fourth case occurred Upstate right here in South Carolina.
- May 2016, Ogden, NY: While using an e-cigarette, a 17-year-old student suffered severe injuries to his hand and throat.
- April 2016, Paso Robles, CA: While driving a car and vaping, a 17-year-old lost several teeth and was left with a hole in his tongue after the apparatus exploded. So far, the accident has left him unable to speak.
- April 2016, Brooklyn, NY: An e-cigarette device exploded in the hand of a 14-year-old during a demonstration of the device at a mall. The boy suffered horrendous injuries to his face and hands and was blinded in one eye.
- February 2016, Greenville, SC: A 22-year-old employee at Fox Carolina had his e-cigarette explode in his pants pocket. He suffered third-degree burns on his thigh and had to be moved to the Augusta Burn Center in Georgia.
A Growing Movement?
Perhaps you noticed that the injuries listed above involved teenagers or young people. E-cigarette makers have been accused of heavily marketing the devices to our youth, and because of that, the sale of e-cigarettes to minors was banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of August 8, 2016.
The United States Navy has noticed the hazards of e-cigarettes as well. A number of instances have stirred Navy officials to end the practice of vaping, citing a dozen injuries since 2015 due to exploding batteries. While it hasn’t been made official yet, the proposed ban is being seriously considered.
Truckers have also been given notice. After reported incidents of injuries due to explosions and fires among drivers who vape, some of which have caused crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) broadcast a safety advisory in August, 2016. The safety risks of using e-cigarettes while driving the big rigs are considered significant by FMCSA.
When it comes to vaping and e-cigarettes, a lot of products are sold by small businesses that may not have any insurance coverage. However, under product liability laws, you can frequently bring a case against manufacturers for damages because of product design and related factors. Because batteries are often made outside the U.S., you may be able to hold those who distribute the batteries in the U.S. responsible as well.
Considering the international scope of e-cigarettes and the complex questions involved, if you have suffered an injury, it might be best to obtain legal guidance.
Bert Louthian has been practicing law in Columbia with his father, Herb, since 1985. After receiving his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina, Bert launched his legal career in his father’s firm. With 80 years of legal experience between them, Louthian Law, P.A. remains Family-Owned and Family-Focused.
Bert understands that when life goes wrong – when you or someone you love gets hurt or suffers a loss, it can feel like nothing will ever be right or fair again. He gets up and goes to work every day to prove that feeling wrong – and does everything in his power to make things right again.