The popularity of the e-cig is hard to miss. From numerous pop-up e-cig shops in towns and centres, to clouds of scented vapour everywhere you turn, e-cigs really are everywhere.
Hailed as healthier than traditional cigarettes, the battery-powered alternatives do not contain tobacco, tar, or carbon monoxide in the vapour produced. However, these benefits may be overshadowed by reports of horrifying risks of explosion.
One man in the U.S. has shared his story of an e-cig battery exploding in the trouser pocket, severely burning his leg.
Charles Hobbs had a spare e-cigarette battery in his trouser pocket, assuming it was safe to carry around. He had no idea it would explode as there were no adequate warnings of the battery’s dangers during the purchase of the cell. Hobbs has since brought a claim against the e-cig vapour shop he bought the battery from.
In his lawsuit, Hobbs explained he was attending a food truck festival with his wife and two children when one of the batteries in his pocket, “suddenly exploded in his pocket causing extensive burns to his lower extremities.”
If he was stood close by his family or had one of his children sitting on his lap, the explosion could have caused even more damage.
The third degree burns on his left leg required extensive skin-grafting. Hobbs was hospitalised for two weeks whilst recovering from the excruciating injury and couldn’t work for a further few months.
About the claim
Hobbs’ lawsuit argued that the shop he bought the batteries from should’ve provided a warning that it could explode, either on the product itself, or told in another way. It remains unknown if the lawsuit has prompted others who have been injured by their e-cigs to come forward and make their claims too, but this is not an isolated incident.
“The idea is when you sell me a product, even if you don’t expressly warrant anything, just by you selling it to me, there is this implied warranty that it’s good for its intended purpose,” said John Culhane, a Fellow at Widener University Delaware Law School. “That basically means that the thing shouldn’t be exploding.”
Not the first incident like this
This is not the first incident of its type. Earlier last year, another man experienced a horrifying incident when his e-cig battery exploded in his pocket whilst he was in a gas station. CCTV footage caught the explosion on tape, showing flames shooting out of his trouser leg!
Other incidents include:
- A faulty battery causing an explosion in a user’s face, taking out his front teeth, a chunk of his tongue and causing severe burns
- A house burnt down after an e-cig explosion
- A teen suffered injuries to both of his eyes after an e-cig explosion whilst testing the device in-store
- A man suffered first degree burns to his face and chest, and a hole in the roof of his mouth
- A Wiltshire IT worker experienced a terrifying explosion that set her hand and clothes on fire… while driving 70mph on the motorway
In the latter example above, the 32-year-old IT worker noted that:
“…the battery exploded like a gas torch, I could feel the flames on my side. I absolutely thought I was going to die.”
Are e-gigs safe?
There are countless incidents like the above where the flare-like explosions have burned through clothing and skin, causing severe injuries and damage.
The majority of these explosions are reportedly caused by the battery. The lithium-ion batteries used in the e-cigarettes are apparently flammable, and when they overheat, they can catch fire and cause the battery to explode.
This risk certainly needs to be communicated to consumers who rely on the manufacturer to make a product that is safe for its intended purpose. Pop-up shops taking advantage of the growing e-cig market must also take on the responsibility of providing consumers with the adequate warnings of the hazardous device’s risks.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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