News outlets across the country have been reportingon the tragic case of William Brown, a young man in Texas who died after an electronic cigarette exploded in his mouth. According to doctors, metal pieces from the defective product lodged themselves in Brown’s throat and cut an artery in his neck.
Due to the lack of safety standards regulating e-cigarettes, we are likely to see more accidents like Brown’s as e-cigarettes continue to grow more and more popular, especially among young people. For that reason, it is important for consumers to know how e-cigarettes work, the safety risks involved in their use, and the legal options available to them if a defective e-cigarette malfunctions and causes an injury or death.
E-cigarettes are usually metal tubes or cannisters containing a nicotine-based liquid. E-cigarettes rely on battery power to vaporize that liquid, which the consumer inhales as he would from a traditional cigarette.
The truth is that there is still a lot we don’t know about the safety risks and health effects of these relatively new products. Sadly, Brown’s wrongful death was not the first case of an exploding electronic cigarette—there have been many reports in recent yearsof burns, cuts, and other serious injuries resulting from explosions caused by the lithium batteries that power e-cigarettes.
The U.S. Fire Administration issued a report in 2017studying fires and explosions caused by e-cigarettes between 2009 and 2016, finding that there were 195 reported incidents of e-cigarette fires or explosions in the U.S. The Report noted that defective e-cigarettes most often malfunction when consumers are using them, carrying them in their pockets, or charging them.
The potential health risks posed by e-cigarettes are mostly still unknown. Of course, using e-cigarettes lets consumers avoid the toxic effects of smoking, but there is evidence that e-cigarettes can cause other serious problems. According to the Center for Disease Control, the nicotine-based liquid in e-cigarettes contains chemicals linked to cancer and lung diseases such as “popcorn lung.”
These injuries and illnesses are the result of a lack of manufacturing standards regulating e-cigarettes, their batteries, and the nicotine-based liquid they use. Until we can prevent cheap and defective batteries from flooding the market and ensure that consumers aren’t inhaling toxic chemicals, injuries and illnesses will continue to rise as e-cigarette use grows.
Call an experienced defective products attorney.
Thankfully, the law provides a remedy, and injured individuals can file a lawsuit against manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of dangerous or defective products. These lawsuits generally assert that a product either suffered from a manufacturing defect, which occur while a product is being assembled, or from a defective design that made the product inherently dangerous.
You can also pursue a products liability lawsuit based on a company’s failure to warn consumers about safety risks or include warning labels on their products. Failure to warn lawsuits may become increasingly common in e-cigarette cases as young people are increasingly able to obtain these electronic devices.
Our attorneys have experience representing people harmed by dangerous or defective products. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact us to speak to an experienced products liability attorneywho can help you win your case.