E-Cigarettes Now a Growing Public Health Danger
Exploding cigarettes are not a joke but a growing danger to public health. This is mainly since users carry this electrical device close to the body. Researchers have been focused mainly on the effects of nicotine while heated. However, researchers need to widen the focus to examine the threat of thermal runaway in the e-cigarette battery. This is especially important for lithium-ion ones.
E-cigarettes have a variety of names like vape pens, e-hookahs, mods, e-pipes, and e-cigs. All of these mean an electronic nicotine delivery system first commercialized in China in 2004. However, now U.S. consumers make up 43% of the electronic cigarette market, which equates to $8 billion in the world market.
The anatomy of the device involves a cartridge with liquid (a solution of propylene glycol, glycerin, flavoring, and varying levels of nicotine), an atomizer based on a heating element, and a battery that powers the heating element. When the user inhales, the airflow activates a flow trigger, and the heating element vaporizes the liquid. Manufacturers used lithium-ion batteries since they are rechargeable. Plus, they provide high levels of energy density and voltage. However, these batteries can fail and explode from a process called thermal runaway.
Growing Danger from Thermal Runaway
In July 2017, the National Fire Data Center of the U.S. Fire Administration reported 195 separate e-cigarette explosions from January 2009 to December 2016. Out of the 195, 38 resulted in third-degree burns, facial injuries, or the loss of a body part. As sales rise, the number of explosions, too. Other experts think that number is quite higher since many do not report battery failures. They expect 243 e-cigarette explosions occurred from August 2009 to April 2017, resulting in 158 personal injuries. Other explosions harmed animals or property.
When dust or other contaminants infiltrate the battery, it creates a short circuit. Low-quality manufacturing also causes short circuits in the battery. These short circuits in the thermal runaway cause the explosions, which hurt consumers.
The reason why so many are being hurt is there is a severe lack of regulations, codes, or laws governing the safety of the batteries in e-cigarettes. Agencies are starting to recognize the danger. In April 2017, the FDA conducted a two-day public workshop on “Battery Safety Concerns in Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)”. This was an attempt to gather information on battery overheating, fire, explosion, and other failures. The FDA then gave away the responsibility and said manufacturers should test the batteries better. Raising the manufacturer standards means that many companies are taking shortcuts.
Companies purchase substandard lower wattage batteries then rewrap them and pretend they are safe. Rewrapped batteries often advertise inaccurate ratings like indicating a 30-ampere rating that was only 20 A. If a product calls for a 30 A but if a user is using a 20 A battery, then the battery will stress and could possibly explode.
If you were seriously burned by an exploding electronic cigarette, you may have a claim against the manufacturers of the device and battery. This means you may be able to recoup damages for your injury.
Contact the Michael Brady Lynch Firm today for a free consultation to learn more about seeking justice. Compensation may be available for any medical expenses associated with this ordeal, as well as for your physical and emotional suffering. There is no obligation.