The popularity of e-cigarettes and vapes has taken off over the past few years. The vape industry is now worth billions of dollars and the trend has steadily increased. Safety concerns have also gone up surrounding both health risks and injury risks.
According to a study by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the fruity, sweet and menthol electronic cigarettes started dominating the market over the last few years, making up roughly 56 percent of the industry’s sales in 2016, up from 42 percent in 2012. The CDC’s data is two years old and doesn’t capture current trends. If they did, the numbers would likely be even higher given how popular newer brands like Juul have become. So far this year, the entire industry has brought in $2.31 billion in sales, up from $1.3 billion in the same period last year, according to Nielsen data compiled by Wells Fargo. Juul has fueled the growth, with its $1.29 billion in sales, accounting for more than half of the market so far this year.
What are electronic cigarettes?
According to DrugAbuse.gov, electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (but not always), flavorings, and other chemicals. They can be similar to traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks. Other devices, such as those with fillable tanks, may look different. Regardless of their design and appearance, these devices usually operate in a similar manner and are made of similar components. More than 460 different e-cigarette brands are currently on the market. Some common nicknames for e-cigarettes are:
- hookah pens
- vape pens
- mods (customizable, more powerful vaporizers)
How do e-cigarettes work?
Most e-cigarettes consist of four different components, including:
- a cartridge or reservoir, which holds a liquid solution (e-liquid or e-juice) containing varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals
- a heating element (atomizer)
- a power source (usually a battery)
- a mouthpiece that the person uses to inhale
In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge. The person then inhales the resulting aerosol or vapor (called vaping).
What is Juul?
Juul’s vaping device is about the size of a flash drive. It delivers more nicotine than regular cigarettes and makes up about 70 percent of all e-cigarette sales. According to Nielsen, with flavors such as creme bruleé and fruit medley, Juul’s sales have skyrocketed to 728 percent over the 12 months. Within three years, Juul has dominated the e-cigarette market, representing nearly two-thirds of all sales in the past month, according to the data.
E-cigarettes have been marketed as an alternative to smoking, claiming to bypass many of the health risks associated with traditional cigarettes. They claim to offer a more healthful alternative to cigarettes and other conventional forms of nicotine intake. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t come without health risks and even the potential risk for injury. Regulators are now looking to tighten up the rules governing e-cigarettes. Flavored cigarettes are especially concerning to public health officials because of their appeal to teenagers. Even if vaping can help people quit smoking, it has not been certified as safe and effective by the FDA. Currently, there is no evidence that it works in the long term as nicotine in any form is proven to be addictive.
The health risks associated with nicotine is old news but with the surge in these new products have come a new set of issues including risk of accident and injury. In fact, there were 195 separate e-cigarette fire and explosion incidents in the United States reported by the media between 2009 and 2016, according to data released last year by the US Fire Administration. In 68 percent of these incidents, 133 acute injuries were reported. The exact causes of e-cigarette explosion incidents sometimes are not exactly clear, but evidence suggests that battery-related issues may lead to explosions, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. The explosions have led to severe burns and even death.
If you’ve been burned, hurt or injured by an e-cigarette or vape, please call Schulze Law to assess the options of a personal injury case.
Tips to Avoid E-Cig and Vape Battery Explosions
Although it appears to be rare, e-cigarettes, or vapes can explode and seriously injure people. If an e-cigarette battery malfunctions, the injuries can be horrible — burns on the hands and face, fractured bones and loss of eyesight and even death. Some evidence suggests that battery-related issues may lead to vape explosions. These explosions can be extremely dangerous so we are covering some helpful tips to avoid injury.
According to VapingDaily.com, here are the major causes of e-cigarettes explosion:
- Use of chargers that are different from those recommended by specific e-cig manufacturers.
- Use of substandard or re-wrapped batteries that have inaccurate ratings. For example, a rewrapped battery can be labeled as 30A rating while in a real sense it is 20A only. In this case, the battery overheats and explodes when put on a current of 30A.
- Using batteries that are faulty or damaged. Batteries that are already damaged are a great risk since they can explode anytime even when being stored.
- Lack of information on the recommended charging limits for e-cigs batteries.
- Moving around with spare batteries in the pocket. When carried in a pocket, the battery can come into contact with metallic objects that can cause a short circuit.
Tips to Avoid an Explosion:
- Consider using a vape with safety features
- Keep loose batteries in a case to prevent contact with any metal objects
- Use quality vaping accessories only
- Avoid other batteries apart from those recommended by the device manufacturer
- Use the charger recommended by the e-cig manufacturer
- Never use a phone or tablet charge on your device
- Don’t charge your vape overnight
- Make sure you read and understand the manufacturer’s recommendations for use and care of your device
- Don’t remove or disable safety features
- Protect your vape from extreme temperatures
- Replace the batteries if they get damaged or wet
- Keep checking the batteries while charging
- Unplug fully charged batteries from the charger immediately
- Avoid moving around with e-cig batteries in your pocket
- Store e-cig batteries safely
- Dispose damaged e-cigarettes batteries properly
- Switch off the device when in the pocket
If you are using e-cigs and vapes, please follow the proper safety precautions. Overall, e-cigarettes explosions are not extremely common, but they can cause severe injuries or damage if they do happen. If you have been injured, you may have a personal injury claim. The attorneys at Schulze Law are here for you to discuss your options. Please contact us today.