E-Cigarette Explosion Breaks Teen’s Jaw and Teeth

The Dangers of Vaping

E-Cigarette Explosion Breaks Jaw

In March of 2018, a teenager in Salt Lake City was smoking a vape pen when it exploded in his mouth.  The emergency room physician who operated on the teen compared the boy’s e-cigarette explosion injury to “kind of like a close-range gunshot wound.”  Another treating physician said, “[t]hat’s an injury we see in high-speed motor vehicle accident.”  When the teen arrived at Primary Children’s Hospital, his entire jaw was cracked and a chunk of bone had been shattered completely.  Several of his teeth were missing and there was a hole in his chin.

Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published details of this March 2018 e-cigarette explosion with the goal of raising awareness of the dangers of using e-cigarettes.  According to a study published by Tobacco Control, from 2015 to 2017 there were about 2,035 e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments.  A U.S. Fire Administration report published in July 2017 blamed the explosions, fires and injuries on the lithium-ion batteries used to power the heating element of the e-cigarettes, stating that they “are not a safe source of energy for these devices.”

E-Cigarette Explosions Cause Deaths

Last year a Florida man died after his vape pen blew up, sending shrapnel flying into his head and starting a fie in his home. In February 2019, a 24 year old man died when his vape pen exploded and nicked the carotid artery in his neck, causing a fatal stroke.

The Problem With E-Cigarette Batteries

The reason that some of the lithium-ion batteries used to power e-cigarettes are not a safe source of energy for these devices is that many of them are made in China in plants with little to no quality control.  Tests of exploded e-cigarette batteries show that many of them contain internal manufacturing defects such as welding burrs or foreign metallic particles that can compromise the battery’s protection against internal short circuiting. If an internal short circuit occurs and the battery venting system does not timely dissipate the thermal heat and pressure, the result is thermal runaway, fire and explosion.  Because the batteries are shaped like a canister, the explosions resemble a pipe bomb explosion.  E-cigarette battery explosions from internal manufacturing defects that cause a short circuit are becoming all too common.  The batteries are not only exploding inside vaping devices but also inside consumers’ pockets and purses.

Compounding the problem are reports of Chinese companies buying rejected batteries from battery manufacturers, re-labeling or re-wrapping the rejected batteries, and selling them for use in e-cigarette devices.

The Solution

There is a need for safety regulations that focus on the batteries.  In the meantime, if you vape, we recommend that you not use Chinese batteries to power your device.  If the battery comes with a fraud system (typically it’s a bar code or serial number which can be authenticated on a website) we recommend that you authenticate your battery.  Fake batteries are flooding the market.

Victims of Battery Explosions Choose Phelan Petty

We represent victims of battery explosions and have successfully resolved many such burn cases.  If you or someone you love has been injured by an e-cigarette battery explosion or any other kind of explosion, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation by one of our product liability attorneys.  Call today at 866-249-3164 or complete our online contact form.

About Michael Phelan

Michael Phelan has been consistently recognized for his excellence as a trial lawyer, his commitment to research, his outstanding communication skills, and his sincerity and dedication. As one of his valued clients said, “Mike puts his heart into it."