E-Cigarette and Vape Battery Explosions
E-cigarettes and vapes turn liquefied nicotine solutions, or juices, into vapor that can be inhaled using powerful lithium-ion batteries. Since their introduction in 2007, these electronic smoking devices have turned into big business, with stores all over the United States racking up more than $1.5 billion dollars in sales each year.
The Injury Risk
The rechargeable batteries that power e-cigarette and vaping devices can explode while charging, while in a user’s pocket or bag, or while being used, leading to injuries that include:
• Scarring on the face and limbs
• Loss of fingers
• Broken teeth
• Severe burns
• Vision damage or blindness
• Smoke inhalation
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the number of reported e-cigarette fires and explosions jumped more than 550 percent between 2014 and 2016 as sales of the devices continued to increase.
Why are vape and e-cigarette batteries exploding?
The lithium-ion polymer batteries that power the devices may be defective or prone to failure. The batteries often have a cylindrical, barrel-like shape, and the ends of the battery are their weakest points. Because of this design, they can release enough pressure to shoot sharp fragments across a room when they rupture.
Battery failures and explosions can happen at any time, such as:
• While in a users’ pocket
• While in use
• While being charged
• While being stored or transported
In addition to the risk of personal injury, any of these types of vape explosions also increases the risk of a house fire and property damage.
Government Agencies Recognize Fire and Explosion Risk
Citing an in-flight fire risk, the U.S. Department of Transportation banned e-cigarettes and vape devices from checked bags in 2015. The devices may not be used or charged in aircraft, and spare batteries must be kept with passengers on their person or within a carry-on bag.
In 2017, the U.S. Fire Administration and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, released a report stating, “The shape and construction of electronic cigarettes can make them (more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries) behave like ‘flaming rockets’ when a battery fails.”
This law firm is not associated with, sponsored by, or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Fire Administration, or the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“It is likely that the number of and injuries will continue to increase.”
-U.S. Fire Administration
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