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.