As e-cigarettes and vaping devices are increasing in popularity, burn accidents related to their exploding lithium ion batteries are also on the rise. Four people in New Jersey are filing lawsuits against the stores where they bought the devices with malfunctioning batteries as well as the battery manufacturers.
However, the battery manufacturers are largely based in China, which will make these lawsuits more difficult to pursue.
The e-cigarette industry has grown substantially in the past five years, yet it is still not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These product liability cases against e-cigarette retailers aim to spotlight this aspect about the vaping industry.
The manufacturers, distributors and retailers are all at fault for failing to warn consumers about the batteries that can burst out of the devices with explosive speed.
Unfortunately, many victims have had to discover this fact the hard way. One man in Berlin County, NJ had an e-cigarette he bought at Mode E. Vape Lounge in the pocket of his pants when it exploded and set his leg on fire. He suffered third-degree burns to one fifth of his body and required a skin graft surgery.
As a result of his severe burn wounds, he was unable to return to work, and being the main source of income in his household, it added to the strain and stress after the accident because he could not provide for his family. He described the experience as extremely painful physically and emotionally and warned others about the danger of e-cigarette batteries.
Another victim in Cumberland County, NJ had a similar experience when an e-cigarette he bought from Vortex Vapor exploded in his pocket and caused battery acid and parts of the device to burn his thigh, and right foot, which has required multiple hospitalizations and makes it difficult for him to wear shoes.
Two teenagers in Hopewell Township, NJ also filed lawsuits after suffering injuries from products made by GP Custom of China, which they purchased separately at Sports Depot & Village Tobacco and Columbus Farmers Market.
The girl, who is just 16 years old, lost four of her top teeth when the battery of her vaping device exploded while she had it by her mouth. She lost her vision for nearly four days after because shrapnel flew into her eyes and caused corneal abrasions. The boy, a 17-year-old, had serious burns on his arms and midsection after his e-cigarette battery exploded on him.
Vaping devices and e-cigarettes have become more popular among teenagers as they generally seem to believe that smoking this way poses less risk to their health than traditional cigarettes.
The rash of exploding batteries and the serious burn injuries they have caused has raised concerns about the lack of oversight on the part of the FDA. A device that is liable to explode while close to your face or body is a scary thought.
Personal injury attorney Richard Grungo commented, “It is likely that more aggressive legal action may be necessary to get the FDA to take steps towards regulating the manufacture and sale of these vaping devices and batteries.”