Remember those old cartoons with exploding cigars? Pretty funny in a cartoon. Not so funny in real life.
Today’s real-life exploding “smokes” are not the old-fashioned trick cigars, but rather the hip x-generation electronic cigarettes (a/k/a vaping devices). They may be “cool”, but when they explode in your face they are a little too hot for comfort.
And that’s why e-cigarette manufacturers are facing dozens of personal injury lawsuits around the country from people who were injured by their exploding lithium-ion batteries.
I myself do not vape nor do I smoke (except for an occasional cigar — the non-exploding kind!). But I believe that those who do choose to smoke or vape have a right to expect a maximum of safety from the manufacturer of the product they choose to use.
Here are a few examples of recent e-cigarette explosion cases: A 21 year-old Florida man had to be placed in a medically-induced coma to undergo surgery after an e-cigarette exploded while he was “smoking”. The explosion caused severe burns to his face, neck, and lungs. In 2015, a California jury awarded $1.9 million to a woman had who was severely burned by an exploding e-cigarette. The plaintiff plugged her VapCig e-cigarette into the car charger whereupon it immediately exploded, causing her to suffer severe burns on her legs, buttocks, and hands.
If you are a victim of an exploding e-cigarette in New York, you may have a New York product liability claim against the manufacturer, designer and merchant who sold you the device. Your lawyer (hopefully me!) will research the brand, its history of explosions, and will likely consult with an engineer to discern the cause of the explosion and whether it was at least in part related to the design or a specific defect in the device. Make sure you save the device and don’t tamper with it before you bring it to your lawyer!
Here at Michaels & Smolak we truly are more interested in preventing injury than suing for injuries. We have plenty of work. We really don’t “need” one more case. We consider it one of our priorities to make the world a safer place. And there are always some basic safety tips that can help prevent consumers from getting injured in the first place. We like to post such safety tips on this blog site. (See below).
By the way, suing corporations for their negligently designed products also helps make the world safe because it makes corporations “pay the price” for their negligence, which in turn makes them more careful with their future product.
In any event, without further delay, here is our list of safety tips to help you avoid being injured by e-cigarettes:
- Avoid “vape pens” (the type of e-cig that most closely resembles traditional cigarettes in appearance) or any device where the battery is not removable, such as “twists”. Explosions are more likely to happen with these types rather than with other types of e-cigarettes. The problem they have is that the battery is not removable and thus they must be charged in close proximity to their “atomizer” (the heating unit) and “vape tank” (where the liquid nicotine is stored). By contrast, with a “MOD” or “Personal Vaporizer” style e-cigarettes, the battery completely disconnects from the device, allowing it to charge separately, away from the vape tank and atomizer, and thus more safely.
- Before you buy an e-cigarette, go on line and research which ones have a more explosion-free record. Just google “exploding e-cigarettes” and you will come up with many good websites for that. Don’t buy unknown brands, especially from places like China that don’t have the same safety standards as the United States or Canada. Buy only time-proven brands that have a good explosion-free track record.
- Be sure the read the instructions for your e-cigarette. Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to charge the battery and care for the product, which will keep it safer. Read up!
- Never hold the “atomizer” button down for longer than five seconds. Although explosions are usually caused by defective or damaged batteries, they can also be caused by holding the atomizer too long, and thus overheating the device. The atomizer is what produces the heat to create the smoke. But where there is heat, there is always a danger of fire and explosion.
- Always use the correct charger, that is, the charger that came with your e-cigarette. Many exploding e-cigarette cases come from using the wrong charger with the wrong voltage for your e-cigarette. Don’t “mix and match” chargers and e-cigs!
- Handle e-cigarette batteries smartly. Don’t carry them in your pocket. If the battery comes into contact with your loose change or keys it could cause an explosion, especially if the battery is damaged.
- Always throw out batteries if they have visible damage because the damage could cause a short circuit, which could in turn cause an explosion.
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Syracuse NY Dangerous Products Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.