Well, I finally won the metaphorical lotto. Last week, I joined the ranks of the “1 in a million” that experienced a vape or e-cig spontaneously exploding. This is my story and precautionary tale.
How My E-Cig Exploded in My Hand
After getting my shiny new iPhone7, I was heading home down Riverside Drive in Melbourne, FL. I had just been waiting around in the Verizon store for what seemed like an eternity, so I needed a vape like nothing else. My vaping device, a Wismec Reuleaux RX200, equipped with a Tobeco Super Tank Mini, had been sitting cold in my truck during this time on a cool and rainy evening. Upon leaving the store, I hit my vape three or four times over the course of about a mile, and then BAM, it was suddenly July 4th in the cab of my truck.
Sparks and flames burst from my hand. Billowing smoke consumed the air. I immediately dropped the fireball, trying to pull over as I watched my floor mats catch in flames. Fortunately, there was no traffic on the residential road and I was able to safely pull to the shoulder without incident. I then opened the door and kicked the still-flaming device and batteries to the curb.
I was lucky. The vape battery explosion didn’t cause a traffic accident, and I suffered only minor injury to my hand. My hand was burned, blistered, and bruised, but not severe enough to necessitate medical attention. Despite eluding an outcome that could have been much worse, I was pretty rattled over the incident. I followed all the safety protocols to a T (so I thought), but here I was on the side of the road with a scorched hand and the smoldering remnants of my vape. After having heard and dismissed dozens of similar stories, it had happened to me.
Can E-cigs really be this dangerous?
I’ve heard about e-cigs and vapes exploding before. My mother made sure of it. In fact, I researched the subject somewhat extensively. Due to my background as a products liability lawyer, I was especially intrigued in the subject.
The potential danger in vaping stems from the small but powerful lithium-ion batteries that are used to power the devices. From everything I read, it seemed that these batteries only explode from improper use. Among the warnings I found were tips like:
- Use the proper charging device
- Don’t modify the device or use improperly
- Don’t store the device in your pocket with loose change
- Avoid extreme temperatures
- Don’t use if battery is over-heated
I always carefully adhered to these rules. Nonetheless, my e-cig exploded and put my life in serious jeopardy.
Am I really “one in a million?”
I always aimed to take special care of my device. It had never been dropped or damaged otherwise, and it had functioned perfectly as intended for the six months I owned it. There was never any indications of overheating or any other potential malfunction. From my experience, I can only conclude that e-cigs and vaping devices do pose a significant risk to the typical user. If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.
I’m a former smoker, and in three years of vaping, I’ve never looked back. However, I never subscribed to the “vaping is a lifestyle” movement. I’m not aiming to cloud an entire room in one breath; I don’t need the highest power mod or anything like that. Vaping isn’t a hobby for me — it is a habit. I do enjoy it, but the primary purpose I engage in the activity is to satisfy my nicotine fix. As such, I’ve never cared about the intricacies of how a vaping device works. I think the same can be said for millions of other e-cig users who have largely contributed to the industry’s explosive growth in recent years. And that’s precisely who are most at risk of being injured by a defective device. If you think you’re completely insulated from a certain risk, you’re that much more likely to be exposed to its dangers.
Regulation of E-cig Devices
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are well-aware of the problem, but neither agency currently regulates these new devices. CPSC’s National Injury Information Clearinghouse database has 29 reports of house fires and serious injuries caused by exploding e-cigarettes.
But how many other consumers have had close-calls similar to my own? Incidents that are not quite severe enough to have been reported, but could just have easily resulted in tragedy?
A product is inherently dangerous if it is more likely than not going to explode without proper maintenance. On an infinite timeline, it’s going to happen, eventually. Does that mean e-cigs should banned? No, not in my opinion. However, consumers should be given proper warning of the danger their e-cig or vaping device presents.
Have you been injured due to an exploding e-cig battery?
I am a personal injury attorney that has personally lived through an exploding e-cig incident. I know how frightening and shocking the explosion can be, and I know the massive damage it can cause in only a matter of seconds. If you have been injured from an exploding e-cig battery, I can help. Whether the incident resulted in severe burns, lengthy hospital stays, resulted in a car accident, or another harm, I am available to review the facts of your situation and help you determine whether legal steps should be taken to compensate you for your injuries.
My personal injury law office is located conveniently in Historic Downtown Melbourne, FL, and I serve clients throughout Central Florida. Call or email me today to speak directly with an injury attorney and arrange for your free legal consultation.