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E-Cigarettes: The "Safer" Alternative to Tobacco?

Photo of Brant Stogner

Thursday, November 19, 2015, three California men filed lawsuits against e-cigarette makers, wholesalers, and retailers. Each man suffered injuries after their e-cigarettes exploded. One of the men, Vincente Garza of Bakersfield, California, lost half of his left index finger. These men are seeking damages for their injuries and hope to raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are battery-powered vaporizers which simulate the feeling of smoking without tobacco. They are activated either through pressing a button or by taking a puff. Rather than inhale cigarette smoke, a user will inhale an aerosol ordinarily called vapor. Currently, the health benefits and risks are unknown; however, the popularity of e-cigarettes primarily stems from claims that e-cigarettes can help individuals quit smoking.

Mr. Garza originally turned to e-cigarettes to stop using tobacco. Last October, an e-cigarette exploded while Mr. Garza was "vaping." He sustained injuries to his mouth and tongue, shattered his teeth, and lost half of his finger. Daniel Califf, a former Major League Soccer player, suffered second degree burns on his neck, ear, and face because an e-cigarette he was using exploded in February of 2015. Gregory Phillips, Jr.'s e-cigarette exploded in his pocket in September and caused second-degree burns to his leg. Mr. Phillips' burns were so severe that he required a skin graft.

From 2009 to 2014, there have been at least 25 reported e-cigarette explosions in the United States. At this time, no federal agency supervises the e-cigarette industry. However, last month the FDA submitted a proposal to the White House to regulate these products. Additionally, last month the Department of Transportation banned e-cigarettes from being carried on board airplanes or stored in luggage.

Any explosion can cause severe injuries or death. If you or someone you know was injured in an e-cigarette explosion or by a defective product, it is important to understand your right to recover. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584 for a confidential consultation.

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