New Electronic Cigarette Burn Injury Risks Emerge
Electronic cigarettes have received attention due to injuries and deaths related to burn injuries and exploding lithium batteries, whereby the battery overheats due to temperature, overcharging, inferior manufacturing, or other issues, leading to explosions and injuries. However new research published in the Journal of Burn Care & Research has uncovered an additional, underreported pattern of injury linked to vaping in the presence of supplemental oxygen, which can cause the oxygen to ignite and lead to burns, explosions, and fire, even if the absence of any product liability/defective product issues.
The total number of injuries and deaths caused by this hazard is difficult to assess because, to date, there is no diagnostic ICD-10 code for burn injuries sustained while vaping and using supplemental oxygen. Yet there are an estimated eight million electronic cigarette users and 15 million oxygen users, as well as an estimated 20 percent of individuals on oxygen at home who report that they are smokers. This could translate to a shocking number of injuries and deaths each year if this issue goes unaddressed.
Why Does This Happen? Who Is At Risk?
This hazard is in large part due to the inherent design of the electronic cigarette: The cigarettes contain a heating coil that operates at temperatures of 300 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is this heating coil that produces the vapor that is inhaled. However, that heat source – combined with oxygen – can cause ignition. This has led to severe injuries for patients with end-stage COPD who are on oxygen and who vape in order to cut out cigarette smoking.
Yet while a majority of these incidents occurred at home, there is also the potential threat in other settings that contain high oxygen levels unrelated to the use of supplemental oxygen, such as in certain industrial environments. Vaping explosion incidents have already led to a number of severe injuries, including third-degree burns, which could take years to recover from, after the equipment has basically exploded while individuals were carrying the cigarettes, and not only can this practice lead to severe burns, but there have been multiple fires in hospital rooms and fatalities as a result.
Reach Out to Us for Help
As vaping is increasingly targeted towards minors, hundreds of thousands buy them in convenience stores and gas stations every year. If you or a loved one has suffered from a burn injury due to negligence in any way, it is critical to consult with a personal injury attorney right away in order to find out what your options are before time runs out. Contact our Macon burn injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Buzzell, Welsh & Hill today to find out more about how we help burn victims obtain justice.