What’s the Problem with Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems?
At least 168 e-cigarette explosions have been reported in the media as of April 3, 2016, according to ECigOne.com . Of these incidents:
- 45 vape explosions occurred during use.
- 73 battery explosions occurred during charging a heating element.
- 28 explosions happened during transport, storage or unknown circumstances.
- 22 events involved spare batteries for removable lithium ion battery powered devices.
- 101 incidents resulted in serious personal injury, facial injuries or wrongful death.
- 67 events resulted in no severe injuries to people, but may have resulted in animal death or severe property damage.
FEMA Report on Electronic Cigarette Fires
Between 2009 and August 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) received at least 25 reports of fire and explosion linked to portable vape pens in the U.S. Nine serious injuries -- including 2 serious burns and popcorn lung -- were associated with these incidents. The events occurred:
- While being charged - 20 (80%)
- While being used - 2 (8%)
- During storage or transportation - 1 (4%)
- Not reported - 2 (8%)
These incidents were typically characterized as explosions, occurring suddenly and accompanied by a loud noise, flash of light, smoke and ejection of the e cig battery acid. In several cases, the e-cig caused ignition of nearby flammable items such as carpets, drapes, bedding, couches or vehicle seats.
According to FEMA, the shape and construction of electronic cigarettes make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like “flaming rockets” when an e-cigarette battery fails, resulting in serious injury. Vape batteries should always be charged according to the manufacturer’s instructions; using unapproved power sources to charge the batteries can catch fire.
Additionally, many e-cigarettes feature a USB port for connecting the personal vaporizer to the heating coil power adapter provided by the manufacturer. The use of ordinary USB port charging connections allows users to connect the device to power adapters that are not provided by the manufacturer for a similar outcome.
The use of such non-approved power adapters appears to be responsible for many incidents involving e-cigarettes, according to FEMA.
Vape Battery Failures
Electronic cigarettes are different from traditional cigarettes because the battery is situated in a cylindrical device that has its weakest structural point at the ends. When the battery seal ruptures, pressure within the cylinder quickly builds and the e cigarette explodes, usually at the end.
As a result, the battery and/or container can be propelled across the room like a bullet or small rocket.
Lithium Ion Batteries Likely to Cause Injuries
The nature of E-cigarette explosion reports has changed dramatically as the devices have increased in popularity. The FEMA document noted above suggests that about 80% of explosions occurred during charging. Additionally, most explosions reported prior to early 2015 involved no permanent injuries.
However, different types of explosions started being reported when sub-ohm vaping and mods with removable batteries became popular. Now more than ever, e-cigarettes are likely to explode while being used.
How to Avoid an Electronic Cigarette Explosion
The following steps can help warn consumers on how to avoid an exploding electronic cigarette:
- Follow battery charging guidelines and don’t charge the devices unattended.
- Don’t carry spare batteries in a person's pocket, and discard batteries with any visible damage.
- Be careful when using mechanical mods, as they offer little to no safety protection.
- If you own a hybrid mod, use it with attachments that have a center pin that protrudes from the threading. If the center pin is even with the threading, it could cause a short as the pin and threading will touch the battery simultaneously.
Milwaukee Man Goes Back to Cigarettes After Vape Explosion
Nov. 7, 2019 - Robert Lewis, a Milwaukee man who claims a vape pen exploded in his kitchen and burned a hole in the floor, has gone back to smoking cigarettes, according to MTMJ-TV .
Read More: Vaping Linked to Lung Disease
Lewis said he was using vape juice with 6 milligrams of nicotine in his SMOKTech vape, compared to his Newport cigarettes, which have 13.4 milligrams each. However, even though Lewis is ingesting more than double the amount of nicotine on a daily basis, he no longer risks blowing his face off or burning up the kitchen when he partakes.
Texas Man Dies From Vape Explosion
February 14, 2019 - An exploding e-cigarette caused a man from Fort Worth, Texas, to suffer brain damage and other injuries so catastrophic they resulted in his death from a severed carotid artery. The victim, 24-year-old William Brown, was at a vaporizer store in Keller, Texas, when the fatal accident occurred. His grandmother says he had just purchased the vape, and was using it for the first time in her car when the e cig exploded in his mouth.
Navy Bans E-Cigarettes Over Exploding Battery Concerns
April 18, 2017 - The U.S. Navy is banning e-cigarettes and portable heated vapor from its aircraft, ships and submarines after news stories of the devices’ batteries exploding, catching fire in checked bags / checked luggage and injuring sailors.
Malfunctioning e-cigs have forced at least one aircraft to land, started fires on ships and left multiple sailors and a California woman burned. Vape injuries have occurred when the devices were being used, charged or replaced, or when they came into contact with other metal objects.
Related Article: Pelican Flashlights Litigation
FDA to Investigate Exploding E-Cigarettes
January 4, 2017 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to hold a 2-day public meeting in April to discuss the dangers of exploding batteries in e-cigarettes and vapes. The Associated Press reported in December that the agency had identified at least 66 e-cigarette explosions between 2015 and early 2016.
Related Article: E-Cigarette Class Action Lawsuit
Get a Free E-Cigarette Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in e-cigarette lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new exploding vape cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you were injured by an e-cigarette, vape, or other electronic smoking device, you should contact Schmidt & Clark, LLP attorneys immediately for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit for medical bills and lost wages against vape companies and we can help.