Electronic cigarettes (also called “e-cigarettes,” “e-cigs,” “vaporizers” or “vapes”) are battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals in the form of vapor instead of smoke. They can be manufactured to resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars or pipes, and even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks. More than 250 different e-cigarette brands are currently on the U.S. market, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- E-Cigarette Battery Explosions
- Popcorn Lung / Bronchiolitis Obliterans
- Lung Illness
- Teen Nicotine Addiction
- Other E-Cigarette Health News
- Related Content: Vape Lawsuit
E-Cigarette Side Effects & Injuries
E-cig side effects may include:
- Bronchiolitis Obliterans (aka Popcorn Lung)
- Lung and respiratory failure
- Fixed Airway Obstruction
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Diseases of the Small Airways
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Nicotine Addiction
- Personal injury from burns associated with exploded and exploding electronic cigarette batteries
- And more
E-Cigarette Explosion Lawsuits
E-Cigarette Battery Explosions
Instead of burning tobacco, vape pens use a small lithium-ion battery to heat an aerosol cartridge to release a vapor. Problems can occur when these batteries are damaged or subjected to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. A short circuit can cause the battery to overheat, catch fire and even explode. These problems tend to occur most often in cheaply made pen vapes, according to Wired.
FEMA Report on Exploding Vapes
In 2014, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a report documenting 25 cases of e-cigs exploding. Injuries sustained in these incidents included:
- Burns and chemical burns
- Puncture wounds from shrapnel
- Amputations, most often the loss of fingers
- Sensory impairment
According to FEMA, approximately 80% of vape explosions occurred during charging, while the device was plugged into a computer USB port, wall outlet or car charger. In addition to the risk of personal injury associated with these incidents, they also caused fires resulting in significant property loss and vehicle damage.
Updated Review Finds E-Cig Explosions More Frequent, Often Unreported
As shocking as the FEMA report is, it is out of date and based only on incidents reported in the media. On April 3, 2016, ECigOne.com published a comprehensive list of electronic cigarette explosions and related events which included:
- 45 explosions which occurred during use.
- 73 explosions during charging.
- 28 explosions during transport, storage or unknown circumstances.
- 22 events involved spare batteries for removable battery mods.
- 101 incidents resulted in personal injury or death.
- 67 events resulted in no injuries to people but may have resulted in animal death or severe property damage.
Even though these statistics indicate a rapid increase in e-cig explosions since the FEMA report, in all likelihood they still only represent a small fraction of such events. A large number of explosions are never reported because media outlets may not consider the incidents newsworthy, and because consumers might not report them out of embarrassment or because no serious damage was caused.
Are E-cig Explosion Lawsuits Being Filed?
In November 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported on lawsuits filed by 3 California men against the makers, wholesale distributors, and retailers of electronic cigarettes. The complaints allege that e-cig batteries exploded, causing severe injuries including second-degree burns, shattered teeth and in one case, the loss of a finger. The plaintiffs are:
- Daniel Califf – Former LA Galaxy soccer player who suffered second-degree burns on his neck, ear, and face, as well as facial fractures after a vape he was using, blew up in February.
- Gregory Phillips, Jr. – A Bakersfield resident, suffered second-degree burns to his left leg after an electronic cigarette exploded in his pocket in September. His burns were so severe that he required treatment with surgical skin grafts.
- Vicente Garza – Also a resident of Bakersfield, Garza suffered injuries to his mouth and tongue, as well as shattered his teeth in October in an explosion while vaping; the explosion shattered his bathroom mirror and he lost half his left index finger in the incident.
Plaintiffs are seeking damages and hoping to raise awareness about the lack of regulation in the making of e-cigarettes and vapes.
Update: Texas Man Dies From Vape Explosion
February 14, 2019 – An exploding e-cigarette caused a man from Fort Worth, Texas, to suffer brain injuries so catastrophic they resulted in his death from a severed carotid artery. The victim, 24-year-old William Brown, was at a vaporizer store in Keller, Texas, when the fatal accident occurred. His grandmother says he had just purchased the vape and was using it for the first time in her car when it exploded in his mouth.
Illinois Couple Alleges Loss of Consortium from Vape Explosion
June 29, 2017 – A married couple from a Plainfield, Illinois, has filed a lawsuit against 2 vape shops alleging that batteries for an e-cigarette purchased there exploded in the man’s pants, causing 3rd-degree burn injuries. Plaintiff’s wife alleges that she lost her husband’s companionship after the incident.
Ex-Navy Seal Suffers Burns, Laceration in Vape Explosion
May 15, 2017 – A U.S. Navy veteran from Dallas, Texas, who claims he was severely burned when his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket has filed a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer, and distributor of the device. Plaintiff Matthew Bonestele claims that his LG Chem HG2 18650 battery exploded in his right pants pocket, causing third-degree burns to his right leg and puncturing his right thigh.
Navy Bans E-Cigarettes Over Exploding Battery Concerns
April 18, 2017 – The U.S. Navy is banning e-cigarettes and portable vaporizers from its aircraft, ships, and submarines after receiving multiple reports of the devices’ batteries exploding, catching fire and injuring sailors. Malfunctioning e-cigs have forced at least one aircraft to land, started fires on ships and left multiple sailors with severe burns. Vape injuries have occurred when the devices were being used, charged or replaced, or when they came into contact with other metal objects.
FDA to Investigate Exploding E-Cigarettes
January 4, 2017 – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to hold a 2-day public meeting in April to discuss the dangers of exploding batteries in e-cigarettes and vapes. The Associated Press reported in December that the agency had identified at least 66 e-cigarette explosions between 2015 and early 2016.
Vape Explosion Injures Girl at Universal Orlando
October 4, 2016 – A 14-year-old girl was injured after an e-cigarette exploded inside a ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, according to CNN. Police say the girl was on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride with her family when a vape inside the pocket of a nearby teenager malfunctioned and shot a ball of flame in the air. She suffered mild to moderate burns on her face, arm, and leg, and was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital to be treated.
Lawsuits Allege Vapes Explode, Burn Florida Men
November 29, 2016 – Two Florida men who allegedly suffered severe burns from exploding e-cigarettes have filed lawsuits against manufacturers and retailers of the devices. A vape exploded in James Dardini’s pocket in December 2015, requiring emergency room treatment and surgery in a burn unit, according to a lawsuit filed in Volusia Circuit Court. Another complaint was filed in the same court on behalf of James Lauria, a 23-year-old man from Cobb County, Georgia, who suffered severe injuries after his e-cig blew up in his face while he was vaping on July 29, 2015.
Exploding E-Cigarette Burns Boston Man
July 6, 2016 – A 47-year-old man suffered burns last week after a vape exploded at a hotel in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, according to CBS Boston. Firefighters responded to the incident around 3 a.m. Saturday morning and found minor smoke and fire damage. The man was treated for second-degree burns to his left hand after the device’s battery pack exploded.
Exploding E-Cigarette Burns Orange County Man
June 6, 2016 – A 23-year-old man suffered severe burns and lacerations to his face after an e-cigarette he was smoking exploded in Tustin, CA., according to NBC Los Angeles. Orange County Fire Authority Captain Larry Kurtz said the incident occurred on the 14000 block of Carfax Avenue about 10:30 p.m. Friday.
“The e-cigarette exploded and the victim suffered burns and lacerations to his face,” Kurtz said. “These devices are more dangerous than people realize. Here you have a device that combines high heat and a battery in close proximity and sometimes these accidents happen.”
German Man’s Teeth Blown Out by Exploding E-Cigarette
May 31, 2016 – A 20-year-old man from Germany suffered serious facial injuries and lost a number of teeth earlier this year when an electronic cigarette exploded in his mouth, according to the Daily Mail U.K. The man was smoking the device at a vape shop in Cologne, Germany, and had put it in his mouth to inhale when the incident occurred. He suffered severe injuries to his face — including wounds to his mouth — with the explosion itself knocking out several teeth.
Popcorn Lung & Bronchiolitis Obliterans Lawsuits
E-Cigarette Flavors Contain ‘Popcorn Lung’ Chemical Diacetyl, Study Finds
In this study, Harvard researchers looked for the presence of diacetyl, acetoin and 2,3-pentanedione in 51 different e-cigarette flavors. To single out these harmful chemicals, the study’s authors put the e-cigs into a chamber and drew air out of them for 8 seconds at a time. The air stream was then examined for its chemical components. Of the 51 flavors tested, 47 contained at least 1 of the 3 chemicals the researchers were looking for.
In addition to diacetyl, other harmful chemicals have previously been found in e-cigarette liquids, and it’s possible that their vapor could cause severe damage to the immune system. The new study adds to a growing body of evidence which suggests that electronic cigarettes may not be any safer than traditional tobacco products, and may actually be more dangerous. Because of these potential health issues, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to regulate e-cigarettes as it does other tobacco and nicotine-containing products.
President Donald Trump recently proposed a ban on flavored e-cigs.
What is Popcorn Lung?
In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on several cases of bronchiolitis obliterans in workers at a microwave popcorn plant in Missouri. After an investigation by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), it was determined that the workers had inhaled large amounts of diacetyl, a flavoring agent used to give the popcorn its buttery taste. As a result of these events, bronchiolitis obliterans began to be referred to in the popular media as “popcorn lung” or “popcorn workers lung.” It is also referred to as “flavorings-related lung disease.”
Symptoms of Popcorn Lung
Popcorn lung is similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), causing symptoms which may include:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Scarring/hardening of lung tissue
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Skin Peeling
E-Cigarettes Linked to Seizures
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is warning about a link between the use of e-cigarette or “vapes” and an increased risk for seizure, as dozens of consumers have reported having seizures while or shortly after vaping.
Since 2010, the agency has received at least 35 reports of seizure in vape users.
“While 35 cases may not seem like much compared to the total number of people using e-cigarettes, we are nonetheless concerned by these reported cases,” said FDA head Scott Gottlieb. “We also recognize that not all of the cases may be reported.”
E-Cigarettes Linked to Lung Illness
In 2019 there has been a surge in emergency room visits from patients complaining of strange lung ailments. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), FDA and other government agencies have reported extensively on this mystery lung disease and unfortunately, it has been tied to a number of deaths.
As of September 2019, there have been 380 vaping related illnesses in 36 states.
Teen Nicotine Addiction
Nicotine addiction is no joke! In fact, there have been a number of lawsuits filed on behalf of kids and teens who became addicted to vaping. For the most part, these lawsuits have focused on the JUUL brand vapes.
It has been found that JUUL “pods” contain and deliver higher nicotine levels than regular tobacco cigarettes!
In a recent study, researchers found that kids who use vapes are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes.
1 in 4 Children Exposed to Secondhand Smoke from E-Cigs, CDC Study Finds
April 3, 2017 – A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that nearly one-quarter of teens in the U.S. has been exposed to potentially dangerous secondhand vapors from electronic cigarettes over the past 30 days. Children who were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke were also more likely to be exposed to secondhand vapor from e-cigarettes, CDC found.
E-Cigarettes a “Major Health Concern,” Surgeon General Says
January 16, 2017 – A new report from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is calling e-cigarette use a grave threat to the youth of America, adding to a heated debate over whether the practice is safer than traditional cigarette smoking. The report found that e-cigarette or “vape” use among U.S. high school students has jumped 900% since 2011, and described in scientific terms how young people with developing brains are sensitive to nicotine.
FDA Enforces Strict New Guidelines for E-Cigarettes, Vapes
May 9, 2016 – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has announced sweeping new rules (PDF) which extend regulatory authority to electronic cigarettes and associated devices, banning their sale to anyone under 18 and requiring adults under the age of 26 to show a photo ID to purchase them.
The rules subject manufacturers to federal regulation for the first time, requiring them to register with the FDA and provide it with a detailed account of their products’ ingredients and their manufacturing processes. Producers will also have to apply to the agency for permission to sell their products.
E-Cigarettes Could Damage Cells, Cause Cancer – Study Claims
December 29, 2015 – Adding to the growing health concerns over electronic cigarettes, a new study published in the journal Oral Oncology has warned that vapor emitted by the devices may cause cancer. The findings came after a lab team at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System tested 2 popular brands of e-cigarettes and found their negative impact on human cells.
“Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public,” said the researchers. Click here to learn more.
Do I Have a Lawsuit? Talk with an Electronic Cigarette Class Action Lawyer
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in e-cig lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was injured by an e-cigarette, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing an e-cig lawsuit and our lawyers can help.