What Consumers Need to Know About E-Cigarettes

September 4, 2014

In the last several years, electronic cigarettes (commonly called “e-cigarettes”) have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.  The e-cigarette product is a battery-powered vaporizer that allows the user to inhale an aerosol vapor made from a refillable liquid, which typically contains nicotine and several chemicals.  E-cigarette manufacturers and suppliers have touted the product as being safer than tobacco cigarettes.  While the evidence is not yet clear whether this claim is accurate, there are several documented and dangerous facts about e-cigarettes that users should know.

Health Complications from Vapor Inhalation

Despite currently being unregulated by the FDA, e-cigarettes can produce chemicals more dangerous than those found in many regulated products.  Many e-cigarettes include a feature allowing a user to increase the voltage of the vaporizer, which in turn increases the concentration of nicotine in the vapor.  This higher voltage, however, can break down the chemicals contained in the refillable liquid, producing formaldehyde—a cancer-causing chemical—in levels similar to those found in tobacco smoke.

Further, independent of the dangers of using a higher voltage, the use of e-cigarettes has been linked to mouth and throat irritation, nausea, headache, and cough.  Frighteningly, due to the relative novelty of e-cigarettes, the long-term adverse effects remain to be seen.

Battery Explosions and Fires

Numerous cases of fires and personal injuries caused by explosion or overheating of e-cigarette batteries have been reported.  As with any product, consumers have a right to expect e-cigarettes to be reasonably safe and in working order.  If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of a fire caused by a e-cigarette battery overheating or exploding, you should contact an experienced product liability attorney immediately to discuss your injuries.

Child Safety Risks

According to the CDC, calls to poison control relating to ingestion of the refillable liquid nicotine found in e-cigarettes rose from roughly one per month in 2010 to 215 in a single month in 2014.  More than half of these poisoning calls involved children younger than six.  Often sold in brightly colored packaging, the refill liquid containers attract children yet do not routinely have child-proof caps or other safety features.  Parents of children who ingest e-cigarette refill liquid should contact poison control immediately.

If you or a loved one have experienced health complications or personal injuries related to e-cigarettes, or have been injured as the result of any defective product, contact the product liability lawyers at Cleveland, Ohio’s Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA to discuss your case.

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