Nader Harb, a butcher from Ohio, had been a heavy smoker for over 25 years, so he decided to try out vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking.
After the vape pen exploded in his pocket and left a huge, graphic burn on his thigh, he filed a lawsuit against LG Chem, a division of LG Corps, as he was using an LGHG2 battery to power it.
He also filed a suit against Cleveland Vape, the local e-cigarette retailer that sold him the device. He said that at the time of the accident, he was in his shop and did not use the vape pen.
Yet, the device flashed for a bit and subsequently exploded in his pocket. He explained that he had never experienced such intense pain before.
He survived the accident since he was immediately driven to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland but was left with a permanent scar the size of a mini-football on his right thigh.
The doctor treated his second and third-degree burns but said the explosion could have killed him if he hadn’t reflexively rolled over to put out the flames.
The accident deeply upset Harb, as the damage could be much worse, so he decided to sue the companies.
His attorney, Tom Merriman, says that more regulatory laws should be made to protect consumers from substandard vaping devices and batteries. He adds that there is no regulation in the production of these batteries or the devices.
He stated that Nader’s situation was unique as the battery exploded while it was sitting in his pocket, rather than while being used like in other previously unfortunate instances.
Merriman added that Harb, just like a lot of people, was trying to be healthier and avoid smoking tobacco, believing this was a safer alternative, but ended up getting pretty seriously burned.
However, this is not the first time an e-cig explodes and hurts someone, as a 2018 report from the British Medical Journal estimated that between 2015 and 2017, 2,035 persons have been victims of vape pen explosions. While some of the victims were mildly injured, others were severely burned, or killed in the accidents.
In most cases, it has been discovered that the explosions were a result of faulty or unsuitable batteries powering the devices.
In January 2019, a 24-year-old from Texas died in a vape pen explosion in his car, after a fragment severed the carotid artery in his neck, causing a major stroke. Another 17-year-old had his jaws and teeth shattered when his vape pen exploded right in his mouth, and this left him with a semi-circular cleft in his chin.
Therefore, even though vaping is less harmful than traditional tobacco smoking, it is not completely safe.
In fact, e-cigarette explosions are very dangerous, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To protect yourself from these explosions, the FDA recommends the following tips:
- avoid charging the e-cigarette overnight or leave it unattended while charging;
- avoid using cell phone or tablet chargers with the devices;
- replace vape pen batteries in case they get damaged or wet;
- protect the device from extreme hot or cold temperatures, so do not leave it in direct sunlight or in a cold or hot car for long periods.
Studies have found that vapes can also lead to a certain degree of heart and lung damage in the body.
The process of smoking e-cigarettes allows a person to inhale nicotine without the other harmful substances in tobacco. The term “vaping” is used due to the fact that the e-cigarettes do not produce smoke – but release vapor instead, which is produced from a material such as an e-liquid.
The e-cigarette liquids contain nicotine, glycerol, propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, flavorings and other chemicals, and some of these harm health.
Nicotine is a potent and highly addictive stimulant which elevates the blood pressure, spikes adrenaline levels and raises the risk of atherosclerosis. Its early use could impair brain development, change the function of nerve cells and raise the risk of developing a smoking habit later in life.
Its amount in various kinds of vapes and JUULs varies largely with the manufacturers.
Vapes and JUULs might also lead to lung damage and respiratory diseases, and the flavorings of these devices are usually a combination of diacetyl, acetoin, and 2,3-pentanedione.
As the molecules of these compounds get stuck in the tissues of the lungs, they can change the lung function, and lead to respiratory inflammation, and vulnerability to infections.
Vaping can be a viable option if you are trying to give up traditional smoking, but it would be best to stay away from both, at least until the technology of e-cigarettes is fully investigated.