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Exploding E-Cigarettes, Burns and Injuries Make Headlines

close up portrait of a man smoking an e-cigarette

Reports of electronic cigarettes spontaneously exploding, causing disfiguring injuries and third degree burns have prompted serious concerns about the safety of these tobacco alternatives. Several people from around the country have narrowly escaped death after their e-cig suddenly burst into flames – catching objects, clothing and skin on fire.

This ill-fated scenario happened to Kentucky resident Josh Hamilton, who is currently recovering from severe burns to his leg after an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket, shooting hot flames through his clothes. After getting treatment at a local hospital, Hamilton posted gruesome pictures of his burned flesh on Facebook, captioning the pics “These are actually all 2nd degree burns so hopefully won’t have to have surgery or skin graphs. But it’s too soon to tell I think.”

Considering that some 9 million Americans have switched to vaping as a safer alternative to cigarettes and make use of the tobacco-free devices, the potential scope for e-cigarette injury is alarming.

E-cig explodes, burns car and woman

Other stories of e-cigarette explosions have poured in to media outlets around the country. Just last week, an Orlando, Florida woman was turning on her e-cig when it burst into flames.  The explosion happened when Cassandra Koziol was inside her rental car. Stunned and in pain, she ran to a friend’s place to call the police, and by the time she returned to the vehicle it was completely engulfed in flames.

“I’ll never use a (e-cigarette) again… I lost my car, I lost my teeth, (and) I lost my mod. I’m in pain,” she told UberGizmo in an interview. A photo of Koziol  shows a serious burn near her collarbone and a closed-mouth grimace.

The burns, broken teeth and debilitating injuries aren’t just happening in the United States. Another e-cig victim in Germany was only 16 when the life-altering event happened. According to the teen’s father, the boy was about to vape in his vehicle when the e-cig caught his face on fire, causing him to lose his two front teeth. If the teen had not been wearing glasses at the time, it is likely he would have suffered permanent vision damage.

The e-cig in question was manufactured in China and marketed as the “Wotofo Phantom,” and the cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

22 e cig explosions reported since 2008

Tom Kiklas of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association told CNN that at least 22 e-cig explosions have been reported since 2008, when the devices were first launched. Kiklas says the danger doesn’t necessarily lie in the electronic cigarette itself, but in the lithium battery. Consumers may use the wrong type of chargers with the batteries, which can cause a problem.

Kiklas cautions that e-cigs should never be kept in clothing pockets as metal coins can short-circuit the lithium battery if they make contact.

No e-cig warnings yet, but label changes may come soon

The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association has suggested the addition of new language on device packaging that alerts consumers about the hazards of modifying e-cigarettes with power cords or chargers that are not compatible, as doing so may result in serious or fatal injury. Until then, millions of e-cig users remain at risk for catastrophic harm.

If you have suffered burns or any type of injury due to an exploding e-cigarette or vaporizer, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. These devices are largely unregulated in the U.S. and manufacturers may be held liable in the event they were negligent in the production or labeling of their products.

Product liability attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are only a phone call away. Contact us today for a free consultation and more information about your rights under the law.