E-cigarettes, also called "e-cigs" or "vapes," are relatively new products intended to replace traditional cigarettes. Since 2008, e-cigarette sales have exploded from $20 million in annual sales to a $4 billion market. Given the increasingly popularity of e-cigarettes, many companies have attempted to jump on the band wagon by releasing their own devices to capture some of the market. However, as is often the case, concerns about product safety take a back seat to the quest for big profits.
While e-cigarettes are not considered as risky as regular cigarettes, researchers may have found a link between flavorings and a bad effect on the heart. In laboratory dishes, scientists grew cells that normally line the healthy human blood vessels. They then exposed cells to six different e-cigarette flavorings, testing if the flavors caused any effects. This method eliminated the possibility that nicotine caused any adverse effects. They also analyzed the effects of bathing those cells in blood taken from people right after they had an e-cigarette. Finally, they did a comparison of the cells' exposure to blood from nonsmokers and people who smoked a regular cigarette.
A 24-year-old Fort Worth man tragically died in a vape store parking lot this January after his vape pen exploded in his face. After the explosion, the man was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he later died.
In February 2016, Daniel Anderson was carrying a spare e-cigarette battery, his keys, and some coins in his left front pocket. When the metal items made contact, it caused a short to the outside of the battery. The resulting explosion caused chemical and thermal burns to Mr. Anderson's left leg and hands.
Four New Jersey residents who suffered third-degree burns when their e-cigarette batteries ignited "like a rocket" are suing the shops that sold the "defective" devices.
While e-cigarettes have been advertised as a safe alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, recent events have shown these devices can actually be extremely dangerous. The Internet reveals several pages of headlines about e-cigarette explosions resulting in catastrophic injuries. In 2016 alone, there have been several media reported injuries attributed to e-cigarette explosions, including a truck driver suffering facial injuries when his e-cigarette exploded while driving, a woman who suffered third degree burns to her leg when her e-cigarette exploded in her pocket, and a professional soccer player who received extensive facial injuries when his e-cigarette blew up in his mouth.