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Illinois Law on Burn Injuries from E-Cigarettes

The public has been aware of the health consequences of smoking for decades, but there are new threats for Illinois smokers who traded in their traditional cigarettes for e-cigarettes: Burn injuries resulting from fires and explosions. E-cig smokers may be avoiding such toxins as tar, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde, but these devices are still hazards. If you currently use e-cigarettes, personal vapes, or similar devices, it is important to review some critical safety information.

The Technology Behind E-Cigs

The US Fire Administration defines an e-cigarette as a battery-operated machine that simulates the physical sensation of smoking tobacco by producing a vapor that resembles smoke. To get the intended effect, the device incorporates an electric heating element that is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The element heats a liquid solution added by the user, and converts it into a nicotine-containing suspension.

Sources of Burns from E-Cigarettes

An August 2017 study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health identified explosions as the leading cause of burn injuries from e-cig devices. Of the 30 patients that sustained burns through use of an e-cig, the inciting event was an explosion in 87 percent of the cases. The findings also revealed some disturbing trends about the explosions, fires, and resulting burn injuries:

  • Ten victims reported that their clothing ignited when a disconnected e-cig battery exploded in a pocket, purse, or otherwise close to the body.
  • In just over half the cases, the fully assembled e-cigarette ignited. Of these 16 incidents, seven explosions occurred while the device was idle and being carried in a pocket. The other nine victims experienced burn injuries due to an explosion that occurred during usage and close to the face.
  • For victims who reported that an explosion occurred when the e-cigarette was not in use, the majority of the burns were to the thighs, hands, and genitalia.
  • Victims who were injured while actually using these devices suffered burns to the mouth and face due to the close proximity.

Protect Yourself from E-Cigarette Burn Injuries

As Illinois and federal agencies consider regulations to prevent burns from e-cigarettes and the lithium-ion batteries that power them, you can take charge of your own safety by:

  • Following manufacturer’s instructions for e-cig use and charging;
  • Avoiding use of an off-brand appliance to charge the device;
  • Purchasing spare batteries and replacement parts from the same manufacturer;
  • Only using proper USB charges for the e-cig, as opposed to standard USB units;
  • Doing your homework, as some e-cigarette and lithium-ion battery manufacturers are self-regulating to ensure the safety of users.

Trust an Experienced Burn Injuries Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

Even despite using proper caution, explosions from e-cigarettes can occur and cause serious burn injuries. If you are a victim, you may be entitled to recover compensation from the manufacturer, seller, or other entity involved with putting a dangerous, defective product on the market. For more information, please contact Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow, Ltd. We can schedule a consultation with one of our burn injury attorneys at our offices in Rockford, IL or LaSalle County.

Published May 29, 2018
Posted in Personal Injury
Comments Off on Illinois Law on Burn Injuries from E-Cigarettes

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