Vape pen explosions are widely underreported and increased awareness can help prevent burns, lacerations, puncture wounds, and even deaths. Official reports describe accidents involving these devices as rare, but potentially harmful. However, a recent study suggests the problem is much larger.
How Vape Pens Work
Vape pens work by combining an electronic heating element such as an atomizer or a cartomizer with a cartridge that contains a liquid solution. The heating element warms the liquid, vaporizing it, and then the user inhales the aerosol through a mouthpiece.
Vape Pen-Related Injuries Are Underreported
A study conducted by researchers at George Mason University found that federal agencies underestimate the number of vape pen explosions and the resulting injuries and deaths. Between 2015 and 2017, an estimated 2,035 people were treated in emergency departments for e-cigarette explosion injuries. These estimates may still not capture the size of the problem because not everyone injured in vape pen accidents seeks emergency care. When vape pens explode or ignite, injuries include:
- severe burns
- lacerations and puncture wounds
- the loss of body parts like eyes, tongues, or teeth
Why Do E-Cigarettes Explode?
There are numerous factors that may contribute to electronic cigarette explosions. Using batteries that are faulty, damaged, substandard, or rewrapped may cause e-cigarette fires or explosions. Other vape pen accidents result when people charge their devices beyond the specified limits or use chargers other than those recommended by the manufacturers. In some cases, contact with metal items causes e-cigarettes to short circuit, causing a fire or explosion. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, vape pens were actively in use or in the owner’s pockets in 62% of all e-cigarette accidents.
Are Vape Pen Accidents Preventable?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently have regulations in place for electronic cigarettes, nor is there a system in place to monitor vape pen accidents. There are things consumers can do to help protect themselves when using e-cigarettes, however. The FDA advises people to only use devices with safety features such as vent holes, firing button locks, and protection from overcharging. Consumers should only use the chargers that came with their devices and never charge their vape pens overnight. This may lead to overcharging. It is also recommended that people refrain from carrying their e-cigarettes in their pockets to prevent them from touching keys, coins or other metals. If you’ve been injured by an exploding vape pen, call our product liability lawyers for a free consultation.