E-Cigarette Burns and Injuries
Although electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, were initially hailed as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking methods, in recent years, as more and more users have been burned or injured by these devices, it has become clear that using e-cigarettes comes with its own set of dangers. Fortunately, it is possible to hold manufacturers accountable for e-cigarette burns and other related injures, so if you were injured when your e-cigarette malfunctioned, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you file a claim in court.
What are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that allow users to inhale an aerosol containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals in lieu of smoking. E-cigarettes almost always consist of four different parts, including:
- A cartridge that holds a liquid solution containing nicotine, chemicals, and sometimes flavorings;
- A heating element known as an atomizer;
- A power source, usually a battery; and
- A mouthpiece that enables the user to inhale.
With many e-cigarettes, inhaling on the mouthpiece activates battery-powered heating devices, which then vaporizes the liquid being held in the cartridge. The user is then able to inhale the resulting aerosol.
The Dangers Posed by E-Cigarettes
The dangers of nicotine are well-documented, so it came as no surprise when it was discovered that like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes could cause lung cancer and other health conditions. What was not understood until recently, however, was the danger posed by the lithium-ion batteries used to power e-cigarettes, which upon failure can actually explode, causing devastating injuries.
Lithium-ion batteries are manufactured using alternating layers of metallic anode and cathode materials that are split up by a porous film, which in turn holds a liquid electrolyte. The resulting core is placed inside a metal can and then sealed tightly so that the liquid cannot escape.
These electrolyte liquids are flammable or combustible, so if the battery overheats and the liquids themselves are heated to boiling point, the internal pressure of the battery could build to the point where the seal ruptures, the pressure is abruptly released, the electrolyte ignites, and expanding gas from the combustion further increases pressure. While the fire is usually brief because the separator containing the electrolytes is plastic, the explosion can still cause serious damage.
These types of lithium-ion batteries are used to power a variety of remote devices. What makes e-cigarettes different is that the battery is installed in a cylindrical device that has its weakest structural point at the ends. This means that when the battery seal ruptures, the pressure within the cylinder builds quickly enough to rupture.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
E-cigarette explosions cause serious injuries such as third degree burns and facial injuries such as lacerations. The latter are especially common in users whose devices explode when they are actually being held in or near the mouth. Treating these types of injuries is expensive, so if you were injured when your e-cigarette malfunctioned, please contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543 to learn more about collecting compensation from the manufacturer.