While electronic cigarettes are considered a healthy alternative for smokers, there are rising concerns that these devices may be dangerous. Electronic cigarettes, more commonly referred to as e-cigs, have continued to grow in popularity since entering the U.S. market in 2007. A major cause of the health concerns presented by e-cigarettes may not be what one would expect, however.
There have been many recent cases in which the devices have linked to burn injuries. Experts are concerned that e-cigarettes are dangerous based solely on their operating principles. The battery-operated heating device heats up the oils, usually containing nicotine, to about 400 degrees. This high temperature causes the oil to be converted to a vapor, which can then be inhaled. With that amount of energy being stored and released on demand, there is a large strain that is placed on the device’s rechargeable battery. If this cyclical operating condition causes the battery to malfunction, the battery may release its stored energy in an explosive manner. This uncontrolled energy release has the ability to cause a large amount of harm to a human being. “According to a recent poll from about 20 burn centers around the country, they estimated 300 burn cases that required hospitalities” due to “exploding” e-cigarettes.
In one particular case, Scott Becker, a 46-year-old, suffered third degree burns when the rechargeable battery that powers the e-cigarette exploded in his pocket during a work meeting. Becker said “It was like having fire-work go off in your pocket.” Due to Becker’s sustained injuries he still requires treatment three times per day a year after the incident, and his medical bills are estimated to be over $150,000. If the device fails in the mouth of the user, it can explode with enough force to knock out teeth and crack vertebrae.
The rechargeable batteries are clearly to blame, but advocates of the e-cigarette still say the risk is too remote to do anything about it. Even if it is somewhat rare, this device is so dangerous, that when it does malfunction, the injuries are horrific.
If you or someone you know has been injured by an e-cigarette, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884.