A 14-year-old girl on a Florida amusement park ride was burned earlier this month when an electronic cigarette belonging to another passenger on the ride exploded. A man on the ride also was injured.
The girl and her family, visiting Florida from Tennessee, were riding a train at Universal Orlando when an e-cigarette in the pocket of another passenger malfunctioned, shooting a fireball at the girl. The small explosion caused burns to the right side of the girl’s face, arm and leg. The man suffered minor injuries.
The incident is one of many involving exploding electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes. The malfunction has sparked dozens of lawsuits as well as a class action suit filed over the summer.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that convert liquid nicotine into a vapor that is inhaled. There is no fire, ash or smoky smell and e-cigarettes do no contain harmful chemicals — such as carbon monoxide and tar — associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes. Since entering the United States market in 2007, e-cigarettes have become a $3.5 billion industry. The devices have been touted as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and a path to quitting smoking.
A California woman was burned earlier this year after she put a new battery in her e-cigarette. When she pushed the button to activate the e-cigarette, it exploded, ripping a hole in her mouth and spraying battery acid across her body. She suffered three cracked teeth and has burn scars on her face and legs. She filed a negligence lawsuit against the store that sold her the e-cigarette.
A Delaware man had to undergo skin graft surgery last spring after an e-cigarette battery in his front pants pocket exploded. He filed a negligence lawsuit over the summer against both the store that sold him the battery and the South Korean manufacturer of the battery.
In New York, a teenage boy was partially partially blinded from an e-cigarette explosion at a mall kiosk.
Last year a California woman who suffered second degree burns won a $1.9 million judgement in a product liability lawsuit against an e-cigarette distributor, its wholesaler and the store where she bought it. In 2013, the woman plugged her e-cigarette battery into her car’s cigarette lighter to charge it. After plugging in the battery, liquid started dripping from it, the car filled with a chemical smell and the battery exploded, shooting flames that caused the woman’s dress to catch on fire. When chemicals spewed onto her lap burning her legs the woman tried to jump from the moving car, but her husband pulled her back in and poured iced coffee on her to douse the flames.
A man in California is still recovering after an exploding e-cigarette blew off half his index finger and knocked out several teeth. His attorney represents nearly 70 people injured by e-cigarettes and he he has so far filed 29 lawsuits.
A 2014 report by the U.S. Fire Administration found that more than 2.5 million Americans used e-cigarettes and the number was “growing rapidly.” At that time, reports of fires and explosions were rare. Investigators recorded 25 incidents between 2009 and August 2014 of e-cigarettes exploding, injuring nine people. Most of the incidents occurred while the lithium-ion battery was charging. Investigators described the exploding batteries as “flaming rockets.”
If you or a loved one has been injured by an e-cigarette battery, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 1-800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.