A Jemison woman suffered burns on her hands and legs after her e-cigarette device, sometimes called a vaporizer, exploded while she was changing its internal battery. After feeling a painful electric shock, the woman threw it away from her as it was consumed in flames. The intensity of the device’s fire was enough to immediately ignite the bed it landed on. Her husband was able to throw the mattress outside before it could burn down the entire mobile home.
While this account is harrowing, it becomes even more concerning when considering how often it happens. Dr. Chandra Ellis, who is the current director of the burn treatment program at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, has personally treated two people who required emergency medical attention due to an exploding vaporizer. After hearing of the Jemison woman’s account, she dove into recent hospital records around the state and found five more e-cigarette injury cases; some were so extreme, skin grafts were necessary and permanent disfiguration was a result.
One case in Albertville involved a high school student who was splashed with flames and hot metal when the e-cigarette his classmate was using ruptured. Another person who sought treatment at UAB Hospital said she was using her vaporizer as intended when it unexpectedly exploded, breaking her jaw and a tooth. As Dr. Ellis pointed out, these are just the cases in Alabama, and there are assuredly many, many more across the country.
Why are E-Cigarettes So Dangerous?
The Scientific American has stated that the shape of vaporizers might be making them more hazardous. When the internalized lithium ion battery malfunctions and explodes, the cylindrical barrel design of an e-cigarette acts like a gun barrel, projecting shrapnel at a high velocity that would not be achieved if the battery exploded outside the device. Regulations are also slim on e-cigarettes, with many of them being produced with little to no oversight. If they had been regulated appropriately from the beginning, it would probably be unlikely that a laptop-grade battery would be permitted for use during their manufacturing.
For more information regarding the recent incident in Jemison, you can view a full article posted by AL.com by clicking here. If you have been hurt by an exploding e-cigarette, our Dothan product liability attorneys at Morris, Cary, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC can assist you in making your claim. We have more than 130 years of collective legal experience and have won millions of dollars for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation and we can tell you if you have grounds for a lawsuit.