Electronic Cigarette lawsuits were filed after many devices exploded setting users on fire and causing them grievous injuries. Plaintiffs’ attorney argue that the manufacturers never adequately warned the public that vaping might be associated with a risk of a serious lung condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lungs.”
E-Cigarettes (also known as e-cigs or vapes) are small electronic devices shaped like cigarettes or other common products. They’re used as personal nicotine delivery systems that vaporize a liquid solution which can be inhaled to simulate smoking. E-cigs are used by more than 2.5 million Americans since they have been launched in 2007. Unlike regular cigarettes, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never properly regulated vape pens until late 2016, so many of them are often built with sub-standard quality components that are prone to malfunction.
Device Type: Smoking
Injury: Burns & Cancer
Total Cases: 700
Settlement Amounts: EST – $400,000 over $1,000,000
Electronic Cigarette Dangers and Popcorn Lungs
One of the most concerning issues with the use of vapes is the risk of a serious and irreversible lung disease known as bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lungs.” This condition is caused by diacetyl, a chemical found in many e-cigs juices to complement flavorings such as candy, coconut and vanilla because of its buttery aroma. Known as “flavorings-related lung disease,” popcorn lungs takes its name after the US regulatory authorities found that many popcorn factory employees suffered from this condition due to constant exposure to diacetyl in food processing factories.
To protect public health, this chemical has been removed from food flavorings since the early 2000s. However, a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2015 found diacetyl in over 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids. The hazardous chemical is inhaled directly into the device user’s lungs, causing scarring that will lead to narrowing and thickening of the airways. Symptoms of this disease are similar to those of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and include shortness of breath, wheezing and frequent coughing.
Why do E-vapes explode?
E-cigs are filled with a liquid known as “juice” that contain nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol and several types of flavors. This substance is heated by heating coils powered by a lithium-ion battery until it’s vaporized and then inhaled. Every time a user takes a drag from the device, the vapor is immediately released.
Vape pens batteries must be charged, usually in a USB port. However, since USB ports use different levels of amps and voltages, the battery can overheat. In addition, if the battery is defective, it may leak, and since the e-cig is a small cylinder, pressure can build. Since the electrolyte fluid is highly flammable, the whole device may explode, rocket across the place, and set things (as well as people) on fire, causing burns and injuries.
How often do E-cigs & Vapes explode?
When a vape pen explodes, the consequences may be very serious. A California resident who filed a lawsuit in 2015 required surgery to repair his tongue after it was severely burned by an e-cig exploding near his face and engulfing him in flames. He also suffered horrifying injuries to his hand and had a finger amputated.
According to data published by the U.S. Fire Administration, between 2009 and 2014 at least 25 incidents of e-cigarettes explosions have been reported by the media. However, authorities in Colorado reported a spike in the number of accidents caused by the devices in 2016, counting 34 explosions and 27 injured victims. Because of this risk, recently airplane security requires passengers to carry e-cigs with them on the plane and prohibits them in checked luggage. The FDA has scheduled public hearings in 2017 to further investigate the matter and prevent further risks to the general public.
E-Cigarette settlements and financial compensation
Some people who filed a litigation against vaping device manufacturers for the damage they suffered have been compensated already. On October 2015, Jennifer Ries plugged her e-cigarette battery into the car’s charger. Liquid started dripping, and soon thereafter, the device exploded setting her and the car on fire. The woman was awarded $1.9 million in a product liability suit after a jury found the distributor to be responsible for the second-degree chemical burns she suffered on her back, hand and legs.
Our attorneys are also pursuing cases on behalf of anyone who experienced chronic lung damage, popcorn lungs or other vaping-related diseases. We allege that the manufacturers failed to warn the public about the risks which may lead to life-threatening or permanent damage and injuries.
Current status of the legal proceedings
As of this time, there is still no mass tort or class action litigation pending involving e-cigs explosions or popcorn lungs. Large group of settlements may, however, occur as soon as the number of cases tried in court increase and public awareness about the risks is increased.[references_ecigarettes]