Vaping Pens and E-Cigarettes: More Dangerous Than You May Think
There is the impression that products that we buy in stores must be safe to use. We assume that everything on shelves is tested and retested and subject to stringent government regulation, to make sure that they can’t do us harm when used in the ways they are supposed to be used. But in fact, items we buy and use every day may be capable of causing catastrophic harm.
One such item is the ever popular e-cigarette, or “vaping pen.” This is a device that is meant to emulate smoking a real cigarette, but which is touted as being better for users than traditional nicotine-based cigarettes.
To operate, the pen must heat up. To do that, it must have a battery inside of it. That battery is where the accidents and injuries have come from.
Recently, a man was killed because the battery inside of his e-cigarette exploded. The explosion was so catastrophic, it sent pieces of debris into his skull, neck and face. Witnesses recalled that the pieces of the battery scattered throughout the interior of the man’s car were so hot they melted the car’s plastic parts inside.
The man died a few days later, the cause of death being a severed artery by the shrapnel.
The Dangers of Vaping Pen Batteries
This is not the first case of catastrophic injury or death caused by e-cigarettes, although this case is a rare instance of death caused by one. Experts and government agencies are beginning to warn users more and more about the dangers that these devices can present.
The danger comes from a number of factors. The first is that the item itself is slim–shaped like a pen or a cigarette. That means that there is little insulation or buffer between the casing of the pen and the internal lithium ion battery.
When the battery overheats or explodes, pieces of the pen go shooting out at speeds that appear to be as fast as gunshots. And because the devices are so close to users’ mouths, faces and heads, when there is an explosion, it can be disfiguring and catastrophic.
The batteries are also of concern. Unlike tested and regulated lithium batteries, such as the ones in most cell phones, the batteries in vaping pens often do not have safety features. For example, some may not have an internal shut off switch when charging, which prevents the battery from overheating when charged for too long.
Unlike other items that use these batteries, such as cell phones, which can be charged with any number of chargers, vaping pens are not intended to be charged with anything other than the charger that they come with.
In 2022, manufacturers of these pens/e-cigarettes will have to apply for FDA approval before the items are sold to the public. But until then, the devices are largely unregulated, creating a market where unsafe, shoddily made, and dangerous devices can be sold on the shelf.
If you have been injured as the result of a defective or malfunctioning product, contact the consumer and injury attorneys at Jacobs Legal in Miami today to discuss whether you may be entitled to damages for the injuries you sustained.