E-cigarette exploding causing burns in North Carolina.
The e-cigarette, also called a personal vaporizer (PV) , or vape, or electronic nicotine delivery system, is a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor, which resembles smoke. These devices have become very popular as an alternative to smoking, including among a growing number of individuals who have never been smokers but who enjoy the flavors.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed regulations for e-cigarettes. These proposed FDA regulations do not include consideration of the battery or electronics used in/with the devices – the FDA is proposing to address only the health effects of inhaling the vapors (FDA, 2014; Ledford, 2014).
World Health Organization has recently proposed that member states adopt stringent controls on e-cigarettes (WHO, 2014). The proposal is limited to the potential health effects of e-cigarettes and does not include language addressing the electronics.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has advised that e-cigarettes do not fall under its jurisdiction.
Here in North Carolina a rising number of consumers have been injured due to faulty batteries that seem to explode causing serious burns, many resulting in skin grafts to the users. They have also been blamed for starting fires.
E-cigarettes are different from other electronic consumer devices because the battery is installed in a cylindrical device that has its weakest (structural) point at the ends. When the battery seal (at the end of the battery) ruptures, the pressure within the e-cigarette cylinder builds quickly and instantly ruptures, usually at the end.
A cylindrical lithium-ion battery is made by winding alternating layers of metallic anode and cathode material separated by a porous film. The porous separator film holds a liquid electrolyte made of an organic solvent and dissolved lithium salts. This core is placed into a cylindrical metal can through the open end, and the can is then sealed closed tightly so that the liquid electrolyte cannot escape or evaporate.
All of the electrolytes currently used in lithium-ion batteries are either flammable or combustible liquids. It is this flammable electrolyte that causes the fire and explosion when the lithium-ion battery overheats.
Our North Carolina Law firm is currently investigating several cases of “exploding e-cigarette” or vape cigarette which have caused injuries. If you have suffered injury as a result of use of an e-cigarette or vape product in North Carolina, give us a call to discuss as we are still investigating E-cigarette exploding causing burns in North Carolina.