Recently, electronic cigarettes, battery-powered vaporizers which simulate the feeling of smoking without burning tobacco, have taken the tobacco industry by storm. While they claim to be a new, “safer” alternative to traditional cigarettes, the benefits and health risks of e-cigarettes remain uncertain. Perhaps the more immediate safety risk, however, is not with the effects of inhaling vaporized nicotine, but rather, with placing a battery-powered device in one’s mouth. According to a couple of California men, such a risk resulted in their e-cigarettes exploding.
As reported by The Bakersfield Californian, Vincent Garza has filed suit against e-cigarette manufacturer, Flawless Vapes and Supplies, LLC, as well the stores at which he purchased the e-cigarette and the battery charger, claiming that he suffered severe injuries to his mouth, tongue and finger as a result of an exploding e-cigarette. Gregory Phillips is also filing suit because his e-cigarette allegedly exploded in his pocket, causing severe injuries to his leg. The suits allege that the manufacturing and design of the e-cigarettes does not take the appropriate measures to ensure that the devices are safe.
Obviously, no consumer product should be placed on the market if it explodes when operated properly. Nonetheless, we here at Abnormal Use can’t say we are even remotely surprised by these allegations. E-cigarettes typically have a heating element used to atomize the “e-liquid” solution to create the vapor. Heat + battery + mouth would seem to equate to a dangerous proposition. Even if e-cigarettes are “safer” on the lungs than traditional cigarettes, it seems as if they are just replacing one safety hazard with another. To be fair, we are not aware of any evidence that exploding e-cigarettes are actually a significant problem. Millions of e-cigarettes have been sold, and these lawsuits represent a statistically insignificant minority, numerically speaking. Our point is simply that the risk should have been anticipated. In the grand scheme of things, we suppose that risk, when compared to the known risks of smoking traditional cigarettes, is worth the trade off.