A Louisiana man filed a lawsuit in April 2020 after his vape pen’s battery exploded, giving him severe burns. The suit claims that lithium battery manufacturer LG Chem sold defective and dangerous batteries found in vape pens and similar smoking devices. Surprisingly, this tragic event is not uncommon with vape pens and other electric cigarette devices.
The man entered the hospital with first- and second-degree burns after he used his vape pen, with the burns covering 10% of his body.
Vape Pen Accidents are Common
LG Chem is a South Korean-based company that provides batteries and other device pieces for vape pens. This is just one of many companies whose batteries have been named in vape pen explosions.
In a similar incident, a 38-year-old man in St. Petersburg, Florida was killed after the battery in his vape pen malfunctioned and exploded. The malfunction that occurred in July 2019 was linked to the 18650 battery, which is sold under a few name brands (LG, Duracell, Samsung, and many others).
Another incident involving a 24-year-old Texas man who was killed in January 2019 when his e-cigarette exploded, sending a metal shard from the device into his neck, which then severed an artery.
The 18650 is a lithium-ion battery and has a history of malfunctions that have caused injuries. According to the Rechargeable Battery Association, these types of lithium-ion batteries are intended to be used in electric vehicles and power tools, not in devices that come too close to humans, including devices consumers put in their mouths, like vape pens.
The vape pen that the Louisiana man used exploded during use; however, FDA officials advise that malfunctions and explosions can occur even when the devices are turned off, stowed away, or charging.
Nationwide Issues with Vape Pens
A study by researchers at George Mason University estimates that 2,000 people have required medical attention between 2015 and 2017, and these generally require visits to the emergency room. Many vape pen users experience burns to hands, arms, and legs, however some who had their vape pen in their pocket with metal keys faced other, more serious injuries.
The study also found that men are most likely to suffer injuries from vape pens as men are most likely to vape. Though some injuries happened while using the vape pen or electric cigarette, most injuries occurred when the batteries were in pant or short pockets.
In fact, a U.S. Fire Administration report in 2017 described the volatile nature of these vape pens and the amount of power they hold in their batteries, going as far as to call them “flaming rockets.”
JUUL devices have shown the same issues associated with explosions as vape pens and electric cigarettes. They do have lithium-ion batteries that are not meant to be in such close contact to people; however, these are not the same 18650 batteries. The way they are operate allows them to be more structurally sound. A representative from the Rechargeable Battery Association claims that the manufacturer of JUUL worked specifically to ensure JUUL devices would not have the same mechanical flaw.
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Life-Threatening Vape Pen Injuries
Other reports of exploding vape and cigarette pens have popped up in recent years, with users suffering injuries like:
- First-, second-, and third-degree burns
- Broken teeth or teeth that have fallen out
- In severe cases, death
The FDA provides safety tips to help vape pen users avoid explosions and other malfunctions associated with the devices. The FDA advises users to stop using a vape pen if the device starts to become extremely hot, starts smoking, or begins to make sounds not associated with its typical functions. While the FDA provides these tips in an effort to keep users safe, the organization doesn’t recommend the use of vape pens or electric cigarettes.
Vape pen explosions and injuries are extremely serious. Users who have experienced a malfunction followed by an injury may be entitled to substantial compensation for the injuries sustained.
We Can Help
Manufacturers of all devices have a level of responsibility to make sure the item they sell are not dangerous and do not pose life – threatening risks to those who purchase and use them. When irresponsible and negligent manufacturers continue to produce faulty products, customers are the ones who suffer.
Our nationwide network of product liability lawyers currently represents hundreds of people harmed by vape pen explosions. We provide free consultations to clients in all 50 states, and we don’t get paid unless you receive a settlement. Reach out to us for legal assistance today.