Sunday there was yet another e-cigarette lithium battery explosion—this time in woman’s purse while she was shopping. Mara McInerney’s handbag exploded with the sound of a “gunshot,” pouring thick black smoke and sending other shoppers scurrying away from the blast. It was the 15th anniversary of 9/11, a day when people’s nerves were already on edge. According to an NBC 4 New York article, McInerney was terrified; “It was 9/11. I thought someone had put something in my bag.” It turned out the lithium battery in her vaporizer exploded burning her designer bag into fragments. Luckily the flaming bag didn’t burn her hands and face as well. The New Jersey woman is even more thankful it didn’t explode while her four year old daughter was reaching into the bag to get a toy or a piece of candy.
McInerney was one of the lucky ones. Nearly every month there is another report of someone seriously burned or otherwise injured from an e-cigarette explosion. Just a month ago a thirteen year old in Utah was burned. According to news reports she was “covered in blood and black soot” after the battery exploded. In May of this year there were three e-cigarette incidents within a week of each other. Many more explosions and injuries go unreported.
The FDA has ruled that e-cigarettes must be treated like regular tobacco cigarettes including restricted sales to children. But that does nothing to address potential product defects from the lithium batteries. Until this is addressed by the growing billion dollar vaporizer industry, e-cigarettes will continue to cause injuries that leave consumers, mostly teenagers, with painful injuries requiring skin grafts and months of medical care.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of an e-cigarette or vaping device, you should seek immediate medical attention; and then find an experienced attorney who can advise you on what options are available for insurance assistance and, if warranted, legal action.