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October 21, 2016

A young girl recently suffered severe burn injuries as a result of an electronic cigarette or “e-cig” exploding while on a ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.

According to police, a man’s e-cig exploded during the ride and shot what was described as a “fireball” at the teenage girl behind him. She sustained burns to her face, arm, and leg and was taken to the hospital for immediate medical attention.

This is not the first instance of these cigarette substitutes harming individuals. This alternative to traditional cigarettes has caused multiple incidents similar to this explosion. The incidents are thought to be caused by overheating of the battery, normally while the device is being charged.

The U.S. Fire Administration, a division of FEMA, estimates that around 80% of the explosions occur during charging.  With boil and auto-ignition points getting as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit, it is easy to see how the traditional e-cig that most closely resembles a tobacco cigarette, with its weak ends, could have flames or objects propelled in the event of an explosion.

So What is an Electronic Cigarette?

So what comprises an e-cig? Generally speaking, electronic cigarettes consist of a cartridge that contains the liquid nicotine, an atomizer, and a battery.  Using a different charger than what was supplied at the time of purchase is what researchers believe is causing many of the explosions; however, this does not explain the explosions that take place while the device is in the users pocket or during use.

FEMA speculates that the lithium batteries may play a role in these types of malfunctions. Many other products such as phones use these same lithium batteries and have experienced similar malfunctions.  When combined with a serious heating element, like an e-cig’s atomizer, fires involving lithium batteries become a much larger threat.

Diagram of an e-cigarrette





(Photo courtesy of IEC)

Despite generating billions of dollars each year, the e-cig industry has yet to create a solution to this problem. There are, however, versions of e-cigarettes that may be of lower risk. An electronic cigarette researcher, IEC, believes that devices with detachable batteries are much less prone to overheating or exploding than those that charge with an atomizer still attached. This is because a detachable battery must be unscrewed from the atomizer and then plugged in to charge. Devices that charge while the atomizer, where the heating element is located, is still attached to the battery have been found to create the majority of malfunctions.

If an E-Cig Explosion Causes Burns or Injuries, We Can Help!

The burn injury attorneys at Heintz Law work hard to provide our readers with useful information you can use in your everyday life. Concerning the use of electronic cigarettes, and any other battery powered devices, we would encourage you to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of an e-cig malfunction or other lithium battery malfunction, call the office today at (941) 748-2916 for a free consultation with one of our board certified civil trial lawyers.


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