by Bernard D. Nomberg, Partner, The Nomberg Law Firm
There have been a number of different injuries caused by e-cigarette use, commonly referred to as vape pens. Injuries suffered by e-cigs or vape pens are highly underestimated and many individuals do not even consider the types of full body injuries which can occur when choosing to vape. Recently, a 24 year old man died after the vape pen he regularly used exploded in his face. The explosion caused his carotid artery to suffer “penetrating trauma,” from the exploding vape pen, resulting in his death.
What many people don’t realize is that the injuries with e-cigarettes can occur even when the user is not currently using the vape pen, such as when the pen is charging. The most common injury suffered from vape pens is a severe second or third degree burn. Injures have also been reported involving skin loss, bone loss, jaw and facial damages, loss of appendages, loss of mobility, facial injuries, and further infections and complications from their injuries.
The battery composition in these pens is the culprit of many of the injuries suffered. In these devices, there is a battery-powered heating element which vaporizes the liquids. The device uses the heating element to vaporize a liquid solution that contains a concentration of nicotine. The liquidized vapor is inhaled in the lungs and sends nicotine into the body and bloodstream.
Consumers are at risk from the lack of legal requirements to ensure product safety. There is not a current government regulation which requires e-cigarette products to be submitted for product design and safety testing, including the liquids used in the vaping process or the battery composition, thus, putting consumers at risk.
E-cigarettes use litium-ion batteries, which are also the batteries commonly used in cell phones and laptops. However, there is are also no requirements for the battery compact itself to go through product safety testing by any regulation, resulting in a majority of injuries to be suffered from the faulty batteries. These lithium-ion batteries will cause severe and catastrophic injuries. Currently, even with consumers constantly suffering burns from their vape pens, vaping companies are not changing the batteries or product design currently. After the most recent death, vaping companies should reconsider the way their product is made.
So what do you do if you have been injured from an e-cigarette? Seek legal counsel. Most of the lawsuits associated with-e-cigarettes are linked to the battery manufactures, filed as product liability lawsuits, against the manufacturer. These lawsuits commonly allege the device exploding, causing severe burns. Other cases have involved exploding in the plaintiff’s mouth, requiring the doctor to surgically repair the plaintiff’s tongue. Litigation is still widely developing in e-cigarette cases but preservation of the device is important.
If you have questions about vape pens or e-cigs please call us today: 205-930-6900.
Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2018, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 6th year in a row and he was recognized as one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Alabama.