As the scientific community has learned more about the dangers and health risks of tobacco use, the popularity and social acceptability of smoking cigarettes has decreased over the past few decades. As a result, vaping has grown exponentially over the past several years. In fact, over one in ten adults in the United States report that they are currently using an e-cigarette. That equates to approximately 10.8 million Americans, and over half of those people are under the age of 35 years old.
While it was once considered a sign of the end of nicotine-related health concerns and was initially believed to be much safer than traditional smoking, this may not be the case – but for different reasons than you may think. As more people have engaged in this practice, it has become the focal point of increasingly more research, revealing some surprising dangers of which you may not be aware, primarily those related to vaping device malfunctions, such as battery explosions and other dangers about which the manufacturers have failed to warn the public.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is inhaling and exhaling an aerosol, which is not tobacco but contains nicotine, produced by an e-cigarette or similar vaping device. Many people have switched to this method rather than smoking a traditional cigarette, since the release of the e-cigarettes in 2007. Some people use an e-cigarette, which closely resembles a traditional cigarette, while others prefer newer models of vaping devices, which look more like a fountain pen or a computer USB flash drive.
Regardless of the style of the vaping device being used, it generally consists of four main components: a mouthpiece, a power source, a cartridge for the liquid being ingested from the device, and a heating component to turn to the liquid into aerosol, more commonly referred to as vapor.
What are the Dangers of Vaping?
Since vaping is part of an extremely fast growing and unregulated market, it has proved difficult to know that a vaping device is defective or may be defective when used in a certain manner until there are reports of instances proving this. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the recent media coverage and manufacturer acknowledgment of vaping devices exploding, causing injury and even death to the user. Injuries related to the spontaneous explosion of these devices may include broken teeth and jaws, severe burns, paralysis, and even death.
Vaping devices use a very small but very powerful battery as a power source to heat the liquid inside the device through a coil, which turns the liquid into an aerosol. This vapor is then inhaled and exhaled by the consumer. This powerful battery may cause an explosion due to no built-in regulation of the battery or due to improper use of the vaping device because of the manufacturer’s failure to include applicable instructions about how to properly use the device.
The most common battery to malfunction, thereby causing an explosion, is known as the 18650, which is about the size of an AA battery. Because of the battery’s extreme level of power, it has the ability to withstand and power outdoor power equipment. In fact, that is it’s intended use; to power electric vehicles and power tools. When this is considered, it is not surprising that it is too powerful to be used in a metal device which is placed into a consumer’s mouth. This battery also has a threshold of heat which it can withstand and, when it becomes too hot, it can explode. While in most instances where these batteries have malfunctioned in this way, causing an explosion, the user was only injured by burns, there have been a few deadly explosions whereby the metal pipe of the device was transformed into a rocket of sorts during the explosion, shooting into the consumer’s neck and skull.
Another possible reason for the explosions of these batteries is because these vaping devices are intentionally designed to be modified without enough or proper instructions from the manufacturers. Users may even be instructed and encouraged to modify the device according to their specific preference; everything from how it looks to the battery and charger the consumer uses. If one does not fully understand which batteries can be used in which devices and with which chargers and other applications, the vaping device can very quickly become a dangerous product rather than a new way to consume nicotine.
Failure to Warn of Harmful Health Effects
While initially marketed to be a healthy alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, many pods used in vaping devices actually contain between 3-5% nicotine. The vapor contains nicotine and other cancer-causing ingredients like formaldehyde and heavy metals.
Under the law, manufacturers have a legal duty to warn consumers about the potential dangers of the products they produce, but many manufacturers of vaping devices failed to do so.
I’ve been injured by a vaping device. What do I do next?
When product manufacturers fail to adequately warn consumers of the possible dangers of their product, the manufacturers must be held responsible. If you or a loved one has been injured by a malfunctioning vaping device, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. Your first step should be to hire a competent attorney. By working with an educated, experienced, and passionate legal professional, you are placing yourself and your family in the best possible care in order to collect the appropriate monetary amount from the product manufacturer. Your lawyer will be able to assess the facts of your case to advise whether you have a viable case, help explain the process to you, argue your case in court, and bring about the best possible outcome.
Consult Our Team at Silverthorne Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured by a vaping device, trust Silverthorne Attorneys with your case and your future. Our defective products lawyers have years of experience and will fight tirelessly for you and your case. We know that choosing an attorney is a stressful and emotional decision, which is why we offer free, no obligation consultations as a courtesy to you. Our legal team here at Silverthorne Attorneys are here to serve you. For a consultation of your claim, contact us today at (949) 234-6034.