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The Growing Evidence of Dangers From E-Cigarettes

Injury Attorneys | Restoring LivesTM

May 4, 2017 | Products Liability |


E-cigarettes hit the market in 2007 and quickly caught on. Marketed as a means for reducing or quitting cigarette smoking, they are almost certainly less harmful than cigarettes, although estimates vary a lot from half as harmful to around 80% less harmful. Whatever the specifics, they continue to raise some big health concerns because they do contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. Those dangers may take some time to show the damage they wreak. The more immediate threat is of burns from exploding batteries within the e-cigarette.

E-cigarettes, or vapes, are powered by a tiny lithium ion battery, which must be charged regularly. In many cases, explosions occur during charge, but they’ve also happened while the e-cigarettes are in pockets or in use (notably knocking out seven teeth recently by exploding in a user’s mouth—a story that includes some pretty grim photos and thus is not linked here).

Back in 2014, a report by FEMA warned that e-cigarettes became “flaming rockets” when their batteries fail, unlike other products that rely on those same batteries. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation banned e-cigarettes in checked luggage because of the threat of fire. Recently, a New York man was burned on his hand and leg requiring a skin graft after an e-cigarette fire. And in an ironic twist, the attorney for the defendant in an arson case had to leave the courtroom when his pants caught fire because of a faulty e-cigarette battery.

Of course, the short answer here is not to use them, but if danger were a reliable deterrent, nobody would smoke cigarettes these days or ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Going cold turkey on anything that brings pleasure isn’t exactly appealing to most of us.

The use of e-cigarettes grows at an astonishing rate year over year, especially among young people. Maybe the recent involvement of the Food and Drug Administration will help spread public awareness and provide some eye-opening research. (The FDA didn’t begin overseeing e-cigarettes until 2016.) In the meantime, we imagine the law will work like it’s supposed to, and the growing number of suits over vaping injuries will act as an impetus for the companies who manufacture and sell e-cigarettes to improve their practices and make their products safer.

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