A man in Fresno, Calif., suffered third-degree burns after an electronic cigarette erupted into flames and exploded while in his pocket.
The 53-year-old man was riding a bus in downtown Fresno when the driver warned him that smoking was not allowed and to put his e-cigarette away. Moments later, the device blew up and severely burned the man on his leg and right arm.
Safety surrounding e-cigarettes has become a major concern in recent years with numerous reports of explosions and malfunctions across the U.S. since the devices were first released in 2007.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating e-cigarettes in May and identified 66 explosions in 2015 and early 2016, along with 92 explosions between 2009 and 2015.
Cases of e-cigarette explosions similar to the one in Fresno have caught national attention as videos showing people in New York, Denver and other cities have shown the device malfunctioning dangerously and putting lives at risk. An e-cigarette explosion also caused an American Airlines flight to make an emergency landing in Little Rock, Ark., in December.
A 2014 report released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) revealed that 80 percent of the 25 incidents of explosions reviewed in the study occurred while an e-cigarette was charging.
The report found that the most likely cause of an e-cigarette explosion lies with its lithium-ion polymer battery, which can become unstable when damaged. If a user carries the e-cigarette in his or her pocket, which several victims were reported to have been doing, loose change or other items could damage the battery and cause an explosion.
Euromonitor International, a market research company that analyzed global e-cigarette sales in 2015, estimates that there are as many as 10.8 million regular e-cigarette smokers in the U.S. and that the industry generated $3.5 billion in sales that year.
The U.S. Attorney General and incoming U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., NY) have both spoken out against e-cigarettes as being an unsafe alternative to smoking tobacco products, noting the potential dangers caused by the product’s instability.
E-cigarette explosions and the resulting injuries will occur more frequently as the device gains popularity among consumers who view it as a safe alternative to tobacco. If you or someone you love suffers from an e-cigarette explosion, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The experienced product safety lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm are dedicated to holding manufacturers and distributors responsible for releasing products that harm consumers. Our initial consultation is always free and comes with no obligations. Our Sacramento injury lawyers also work on a contingency fee basis and will not charge any legal fees unless you are awarded compensation.