Dozens of e-cigarette lawsuits have been filed in several states over alleged defects that cause the devices to explode, according to the Wall Street Journal.
E-cigarettes have been in use in the U.S. since 2007 and are marketed as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes. E-cigarette devices heat liquid nicotine into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. The lithium-ion batteries in most e-cigarettes are manufactured in China and can overheat and explode, causing hot liquid to spill on victims.
Since e-cigarettes are unregulated, little has been done to date to ensure product safety. However, in May 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would begin regulating e-cigarettes after it found 134 reports of the devices overheating, exploding and causing fires. The U.S. Department of Transportation has already banned e-cigarettes in checked luggage.
According to the WSJ report, a California jury awarded a woman almost $1.9 million in a lawsuit she filed against an e-cigarette distributor, retailer and wholesaler after an e-cigarette allegedly exploded and left her with severe burns. Another California suit has been filed by a man who claims an exploding e-cigarette was responsible for his losing half a finger and several teeth.
Experts testifying on behalf of plaintiffs in e-cigarette litigation have said that the device’s lithium-ion batteries lack controls to prevent overcharging or can discharge a voltage that is too low, causing combustion.
Some recent studies on the safety of e-cigarettes suggest they may not be safer than traditional tobacco products. A May 2016 study published in PLOS One said that the aerosols used in e-cigarettes may increase the risk of oral cancer.
Roberts & Roberts handles product liability claims, including dangerous product claims. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a manufacturer’s product, please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.