E-Cigarettes are electronic devices designed to deliver nicotine in vapor form (commonly referred to as vaping) rather than smoke from traditional tobacco cigarettes. Currently, there are more than 450 brands, or types, of e-cigarettes on the market including: E-Cigars, E-Pipes, Hookah Pens, Vape Pens, and E-Hookahs to name a few.
There are numerous unresolved health questions regarding e-cigarette use. One thing is for certain, they are fast becoming the popular choice for nicotine delivery, especially among America’s youth. Health risk uncertainty aside, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a doubling in the number of adult e-cigarette users between 2010 and 2013. Current data suggests that there were more than 9 million adult e-cigarette users in the United States in 2015. More striking, vaping among America’s youth exceeded tobacco smoking in 2014 for the first time – representing approximately 3 million middle and high school students nationwide.
There are three main types of e-cigarettes on the market today. These include but are not limited to the following:
- minis, or cigalikes;
- eGos or mids which are bigger than cigalikes because they contain refillable liquid tanks;
- Mods, or Tanks which are assembled either from basic parts, or by altering existing products.
Some e-cigarettes like Mods are fully customizable while others, like minis, are not.
While the debate about the pros and cons of e-cigarette use continues, e-cigarettes can be hazardous to your health and/or your property in other significant ways. In the past couple years, all major television networks (e.g., NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox), national print media (e.g., Washington Times, New York Times), and popular social media outlets
(e.g., Facebook, Twitter) have reported instances where e-cigarettes have exploded causing substantial bodily injury, property damage, and sometimes both.
The overlap between tobacco laws and medical drug policies has hampered e-cigarette legislation. There are still many questions concerning safety, health risks, and which, if any, federal agency should regulate them. Currently, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates e-cigarettes only if they are marketed for therapeutic use. After years of deliberation,
e-cigarette regulations were just recently put into place (May, 2016). The FDA passed new laws that: 1) prohibit the sale of
e-cigarettes to minors; 2) outlaw the distribution of free samples and product demonstrations; 3) ban the sale of e-cigarettes through public vending machines; and, 4) require that e-cigarettes contain health warnings on all packaging materials.
There are many reasons why an e-cigarette may explode including stacking batteries or other tampering by end-users to get more vapor out of their e-cigarette, or manufacturer defect (battery failure).
Compared to the number of battery-operated e-cigarettes in use today, the number of explosions is miniscule. Because there is no central reporting agency keeping track of the data, the total number of battery failures remains unknown.
Anecdotally, however, e-cigarette industry spokesman, Thomas Kiklas, suggests “When you charge them, they are 99.9 percent safe, but occasionally there will be failures.”
Experience a Defective E-Cigarette?
If your property has been damaged, and/or you or a loved one has been injured by a defective e-cigarette, you should:
- Immediately seek medical attention and/or emergency services for any harm you or your loved one may have experienced;
- Secure all remnants of the defective e-cigarette, or similar device, for later inspection and possible forensic testing;
- Take plenty of photographs of any injured areas of the body and/or damaged property; and then,
- Contact the law offices of Fales & Fales, P.A., for a free case evaluation with an experienced accident attorney for expert advice.
The State of Maine’s strict liability law ensures that victims receive fair and proper compensation for any injury resulting from a defect in the manufacture, design, or lack of warnings or instructions for products such as e-cigarettes. So, remember, if you or a loved one has suffered an injury and you believe that someone else may be to blame, attorneys Anthony and Jennifer Ferguson can help you fight for just compensation. To schedule a no-obligation consultation, contact us online or call our Lewiston, Maine offices at (888) 526-9408 today.