New Jersey Man Files Lawsuit Over Injuries from Exploding E-CigaretteApr 12, 2017
A New Jersey man recently sued a business that sells vaping products after an exploding e-cigarette allegedly shot flames down his pants and left him with physical and emotional scars.
In March 2017, the man and his wife filed a lawsuit against Gorilla Vapes, a New Jersey e-cigarette and e-liquid seller. The lawsuit alleged that the e-cigarette's battery exploded in the man's pants pocket while he was at work, engulfing his leg in flames.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that use lithium-ion batteries to heat and vaporize flavored nicotine liquid. Many e-cigarette manufacturers market their devices as a safer than traditional cigarettes because the vapor they produce does not contain the carcinogens and toxins found in cigarette smoke. But injured users say e-cigarette batteries can explode without warning, causing injuries and property damage.
The lawsuit alleged the e-cigarette explosion was "not a novel occurrence." Legal documents referred to additional consumer injuries, including a New Jersey man who allegedly suffered second-degree burns to his arm and face as a result of an e-cigarette explosion and a separate incident involving a Camden County woman.
The woman allegedly suffered catastrophic injuries to her mouth and teeth, "almost losing her right eye" when an e-cigarette exploded in her face, according to the complaint. In another incident, a southern New Jersey man needed a skin graft after suffering extensive burns to his leg and foot, according to his lawsuit.
A report issued by the U.S. Fire Administration noted 25 separate incidents of explosions and fires involving e-cigarettes between 2009 and August 2014. The report says that e-cigarettes with lithium-ion batteries can behave like "flaming rockets" when a battery fails. "Complaints of injury caused by e-cigarettes continue to rise as the devices become more popular," the complaint in the new lawsuit states.
Parker Waichman notes increasing evidence of health risks from e-cigarettes, including the risks of burns and injuries from exploding devices.
E-cigarettes were introduced about a decade ago as a safe new way to deliver nicotine in form of smoking without the dangers of tobacco smoke. The devices were marketed as a way to help smokers quit or cut down on smoking but critics say the manufacturers are actually using e-cigarettes to court a new generation of smokers.
The controversy over e-cigarettes rests in part on claims that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco products and can ease the path away from smoking by delivering nicotine-the addictive substance in cigarette smoke-without the toxins in cigarette smoke. But these safety claims have come under increasing scrutiny as e-cigarette use has grown. Public health officials, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are alarmed by the increased use of e-cigarettes by young people. Many teenagers who take up "vaping" are not doing so as a way to quit smoking. Vaping has become a popular activity among teenagers, many of whom had not previously smoked traditional cigarettes. But responses from a recent teen health survey reveal a troubling trend: teenagers who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes may in fact be a "gateway" to smoking for a new generation.
Public health officials say e-cigarettes may pose greater health risks than the industry has acknowledged. The fruit- and candy-flavored nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes contain chemicals that can cause bronchiolitis obliterans-also known as Popcorn Lung-a serious, irreversible lung condition. The New York Times reported that young children can suffer serious, even fatal, nicotine poisoning if they swallow as little as a teaspoon of e-cigarette liquid. Poison control centers and emergency departments have seen an increase in incidents of nicotine toxicity.
Research presented at the American Heart Association's International Stroke Conference suggested that e-cigarettes may raise the risk of stroke more than smoking traditional cigarettes.
And e-cigarette devices themselves can be dangerous. Users have suffered burns and facial and hand injuries from exploding e-cigarettes. E-cigarette batteries have exploded while devices were charging, starting fires that have damaged homes and vehicles. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action to regulate e-cigarettes, including stricter oversight of the devices and their batteries. The regulations also prohibit sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.
Legal Help for Those Harmed by E-Cigarettes
If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered adverse health effects from e-cigarettes, the attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP can offer a free, no obligation case evaluation. To reach the firm, fill out the contact form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).