A New York resident was seriously injured while smoking an e-cigarette. The device, alternatively known as a vaporizer, exploded in his face. The blast knocked out his teeth, ripped a hole in his tongue, and caused his hands to be covered in burns. "It was like an M80 bomb went off in my mouth," the man, Kenneth Barbero, told CNN.
E-cigarette explosions are causing serious concern across the nation. NBC News reports that since e-cigarettes are unregulated, we may not know exactly how many injuries they have caused. However, a report from the U.S. Fire Administration found that there were 25 e-cigarette injuries between 2009 and 2014.
In recent years, the number of Americans using e-cigarettes has rapidly increased. The U.S. Fire Administration report noted that "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".
"We initially thought this was a rare event, but this is increasing in frequency," Dr. Elisha Brownson, a trauma and burn critical-care fellow at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, told NBC News. Dr. Brownson explained that, "we're seeing significant tissue injury as well as damage to the mouth or the hands and the tendons". Significantly, "it basically combines a flame burn and a tissue blast injury."
In November, 2016, a man working at a wine store in Grand Central Terminal suffered serious burns to his hand and leg when an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket. A surveillance camera captured the incident on video. ABC News reported on the story. "Out of nowhere, a huge explosion came from one of my co-worker's pockets. It just shot at us", said one of his colleagues who saw the incident. Another colleague remarked, "his pocket just engulfed in flames. There were sparks. I thought it was fireworks like Fourth of July". He continued, "I thought he had a pocket full of fireworks and then I realized he had an e-cigarette."
Lobbyists for e-cigarette makers have defended their products. A representative from the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association told CNN that, "it's not so much an issue of the e-vapor product but with the lithium batteries they are using, and most are mismatched to the charger".
If you have been injured by e-cigarette malfunction, please do not hesitate to call us for a free legal consultation.