A number of fires caused by e-cigarette battery explosions has begun to generate concern about safety issues with these products.
Incidents are being reported all over the world from the US, Canada and the UK, all relating to explosions of batteries inside the chamber of e-cigarettes.
In Las Vegas, a man was writing notes in his car when an explosion caused third-degree burns to his leg on Feb. 8.
Daniel King stated that the battery for his vaping device was in his left pocket when it exploded:
“My leg was burning for at least a week straight,” King added.
“The next thing I know, I hear this loud air releasing noise and the next thing I know, there is fire coming out of my pockets,” King said.
King was so severely burned that he had to spend three days in the hospital, and a month on, he still has problems sleeping on the side that was burned.
“On a scale of one to 10, like the doctors were asking me how much was my pain, my pain was probably a nine or 10,” King said.
King is now preparing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the battery.
His attorneys say manufacturers of the batteries are well aware of the safety issues:
“What we are learning is, at an alarming rate, these batteries, these lithium ion batteries that are used in these devices are catching fire and exploding,” said Dennis Prince with Eglet Prince.
In another incident, a UK man was severely burned when his battery burst into flames just inches away from his seven-year-old son. The shocking event was caught on camera as the man was skating in a public ice rink when his battery ‘went off like a rocket’.
Mick Bennett, 47, from Rochdale had to spend 10 days in hospital and needed skin grafts. He has also lost feeling in part of his leg, due to the explosion.
Bennett said: “I’d been picking my son up the whole time as he kept falling over, that explosion could’ve been in his face.
“I’d taken a day off work to take my eldest and youngest rollerskating as my wife Rosemary needed to work.
“The battery wasn’t even on, I don’t know what happened, it just went off like a Roman candle or something.
Bennett has to attend hospital every other day to get his wounds redressed.
“It was a nightmare, I was in shock and the kids were just silent, they were terrified,” he added.
“These things shouldn’t be able to just go off like that. I’ve been onto trading standards as well as the remains of the battery is now with them.”
Bennett is also seeking legal advice.
In Canada rescue services were called out after a battery exploded causing a car to burn uncontrollably. An 18-year-old man was taken to hospital from his home in Kitchener’s West End with superficial burns. He was later released.
In Alberta, one young man was not so lucky when an e-cigarette blew up in his face, causing terrible burns, broken teeth and mental scars.
Ty Greer, 16, was using the device in a car when the e-cigarette battery exploded.
“It lit my kid’s face on fire, busted two teeth out,” his father said.
“It burned the back of his throat, burned his tongue very badly. If he wasn’t wearing glasses, he possibly could have lost his eyes.”
Ty was rushed to hospital. His father says that Ty was in agony writhing about until the morphine took effect.
“He wanted to die. That is how much pain he was in.”
Nobody knows why the device exploded but it is a popular brand.
“He pushed the button and blew in, and then you wait a couple of seconds, and then you puff on it. It was about two inches from his mouth and it just blew apart.”
“I would like to see these unregulated ones possibly banned,” Greer said. “It is horrific to see your kid with his face so burnt.”
In many states the sale of e-cigarettes in banned to minors, but Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador allow under 16’s to purchase them.
Walter Zimmer, Ty’s uncle, said it is time for action.
“They are dangerous,” he said. “This young guy is going to be scarred for life.”
Meanwhile, we are still no closer to explain what is causing the batteries to explode?
The attorneys working with Daniel King say there are several problems with the batteries.
First they are typically sold with no instructions, warnings or labels. The lawyers state that users should be aware that the batteries may explode under normal circumstance.
Also, after a certain time they are more susceptible to explode, this is because:
“Once this coating starts to peel away and metal comes into contact with it, that’s when it becomes dangerous. That’s when it has the potential to explode,” Prince said.
Others say that it is the way lithium batteries are manufactured that is the problem:
“If a single particle of dust gets in the coil while they are coiling it, that is what causes it to short circuit and makes it susceptible to explosions,” said Jessica Goodey with Becker Goodey.
Industry experts do not think there is one simple reason for the batteries to fail.
But ways to keep safe are always to use a reputable brand of e-cigarette, charge the battery with the proper charger and use the branded batteries for that type of e-cigarette.