The number of lawsuits involving defective electronic cigarettes continues
to grow. Last month, three California men filed product liability suits
after suffering serious burns and other injuries when the batteries of
their e-cigarettes exploded.
Los Angeles Daily News reports, the injury victims are hoping to not only recover compensation for their
injuries, but also raise awareness about the risks associated with the
product and the lack of safety regulations. One of the plaintiffs, Daniel
Cliff, played Major League Soccer with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He suffered
second-degree burns and facial fractures when the e-cigarette he was “vaping”
suddenly exploded. In his
California product liability suit, Vincente Garza alleges that an exploding e-cigarette battery caused severe
facial injuries and resulted in the amputation of one of his fingers.
The final plaintiff, Gregory Phillips, Jr., suffered second degree burns
to his leg when his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket.
Unfortunately, the injuries suffered by the three California men are increasingly
common as the popularity of e-cigarettes continues to grow. Sales of e-cigarettes
more than doubled in 2014, totaling an estimated at $1.7 billion. While
manufacturers tout e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional
smoking, concerns are growing about the potential risks. In addition to
the health risks posed by the chemicals that are inhaled, the lithium
batteries that power the devices can also cause serious harm.
Twenty-five separate incidents of explosion and fire involving an e-cigarette
were reported in the United States media between 2009 and August 2014,
according to the U.S. Fire Administration. “The shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them more
likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like ‘flaming
rockets’ when a battery fails,” the Fire Administration report states.
Concerns about e-cigarette safety are compounded by the fact that they
are largely unregulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently
proposed e-cigarette regulations. However, they are limited to the health
effects of inhaling the vapors. With regard to product safety, the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that e-cigarettes do
not fall under its jurisdiction. Accordingly, there are no federal regulations
or safety standards addressing the safe design and manufacture of the devices.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or
defective e-cigarette, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.