Are Electronic Cigarettes Dangerous Products?

February 23, 2012, by Price Benowitz LLP

I recently read an article where an electronic cigarette exploded in a Florida man's mouth, causing him to suffer severe burns and permanent disfigurement to his face and mouth. The gentleman lost some of his front teeth, lost a part of his tongue and sustained burns to his face. Results of the Fire Department's investigation showed that the electronic cigarette's battery flew out of the tube during the explosion and caused the closet, carpet and other furniture in the room to catch on fire. Firefighters described the event as someone trying to hold a bottle rocket in their mouth when it goes off! The exact cause of the explosion remains unknown; however, the battery is the main culprit fire officials are looking to.

Inherently, our laws protect consumers from injuries caused by products and hold manufacturers, distributors and retailers (who make millions of products available to the consumer public each year) responsible for the injuries their products cause. When you are injured by a product due to either a manufacturing or design defect or a failure to provide adequate warning for a product you can bring a products liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor or retailer responsible. In a products liability case, the responsibility lies with the party who can most effectively reduce the hazard of the product before it reaches the marketplace. This is because manufacturers can better anticipate hazards associated with their products and guard against these hazardous conditions than consumers can.

Manufacturing defects are those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor-quality materials. Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous no matter how carefully the product is manufactured. Failure-to-warn defects arise in products that have hidden dangers that could be avoided through adequate warnings to the consumer. For any of these defective conditions, companies are held to a standard to fix any defects prior to placing their product in the marketplace. This is the cost for these companies to do business. More information is required as to what went wrong with the battery in the Florida man's electronic cigarette, however, it appears he may have a claim under any of the three (3) theories.

Many who sustain an injury as a result of a defective product, such as this Florida man, suffer severe consequences and are entitled to recovery for their medical bills, permanent disfigurement, lost wages, pain, suffering, inconvenience and mental anguish. If you have been hurt due to a product put on the marketplace notwithstanding a manufacturing defect, a design defect or an inadequate consumer warning you should contact a skilled products liability attorney to consult with on your case so they can assist you in navigating through the claims process with the at-fault company and their insurer.