Increasing numbers of Americans are giving up tobacco cigarettes in favor of vaporizers, e-cigarettes, e-pipes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). In 2015, more than 3 million middle and high school students admitted to using vape pens or e-cigarettes, which were linked to dozens of fires that same year. Spontaneous e-cigarette explosions can – and do — happen while the devices are being used or carried, often causing serious facial burns, damage to teeth, facial and neck fractures, lost digits, and third-degree bodily burns.
An editorial report published last month in the BMJ medical journal spotlights this emerging safety concern. The authors say that burns and other serious injuries from overheated e-cigarettes and vaporizers need a clinical, public health and regulatory response. They also call for more stringent federal regulation to ensure that ENDS are manufactured, distributed and marketed “according to standards that reduce harm and promote health.”
193 reports involving E-cig injuries
The editorial underscores an unreliable and inconsistent tracking system for reporting e-cigarette explosions, burns and injuries. The FDA encourages consumers, manufacturers and retailers to report any adverse events regarding ENDS to its “Safety Reporting Portal for Tobacco Products.”
Potential safety concerns or adverse events could include:
- Fire, burns or other personal injuries
- Products that are damaged or defective
- Devices that appear contaminated
- Allergic reactions
- And products that taste or smell wrong
It has become evident, however, that the lion’s share of vape injuries is gleaned from media reports rather than a federal database. According to the American Burn Association, several hundred e-cigarette-related burns were reported in 2015—a stark contrast to the low figures provided by the U.S. National Fire Protection Association.
One independent website has identified at least 193 reports of e-cigarette explosions caused by incompatible charging ports or damaged or defective lithium-ion batteries. These incidents were mined from global media coverage, though they note that e-cig explosions are seriously under-reported.
Call for increased regulatory oversight
On August 8, 2016, the FDA finalized plans to regulate all tobacco products in the U.S., including e-cigarettes and other ENDS. With better manufacturing guidelines and safety measures in place, along with improved education for the public about e-cigarette risks, health regulators hope to improve consumer safety and lower risk of injury.
At this time, several personal injury lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturers and distributers of electronic cigarettes, claiming negligence in the marketing and sale of the devices. Plaintiffs are suing for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and permanent disfigurement after being severely burned by malfunctioning vaporizers.
E-cigarette injury attorney
If you or a loved have been harmed while using, charging or carrying an e-cigarette, contact Edelman, Krasin & Jaye for a free case evaluation right away. Our veteran product liability attorneys vow to protect your rights, and fight for maximum compensation. Call 800.469.7429 to set up a confidential consultation today.