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E-cigarettes: A time bomb in a consumer's pocket

Roughly 10 million people in the United States use some form of e-cig, the electronic alternative to traditional cigarettes -- and many of them may be in danger of serious injuries or death.

Just recently, the death of a 24-year-old Texas man made headlines after he was found unconscious and bleeding from a wound caused by his new vape pen exploding. The explosion sent small pieces of shrapnel into his neck, severing his carotid artery and ultimately killing him

While authorities believe that the young man's death is only the second one associated with e-cigs, he's far from the only victim. Researchers using data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found 2,035 injuries related to e-cigarettes in the two-year period between 2015 and 2017. That's about 40 times higher than the number of injuries the Food and Drug Administration attributed to e-cigs between 2009 and 2015. This indicates that either the problem is growing or it was vastly underreported in the first place.

Most e-cig injuries are caused by a faulty battery that's poorly made or poorly installed -- or both. In many cases, the e-cigs and their lithium ion batteries are manufactured quickly and cheaply in China or other overseas factories. Some are clearly cheap imports, while others masquerade as name-brand items to fool customers into thinking they are safe bargains.

The explosions and burns resulting from e-cigs can be very serious. While the Texas man's death may be a fluke, many victims have suffered serious facial burns, burns to their hands and fingers, dental injuries and more. Many spend time in burn units recovering from their injuries and will never be the same.

It may be impossible to hold the manufacturers of some of these e-cigs responsible -- but that doesn't mean a lawsuit can't be productive. Product liability laws put the responsibility for defective and dangerous products on distributors and dealers, not just the manufacturers. Everyone who has a hand in putting a dangerous product on the market is liable.

If you have suffered injuries due to an e-cig or vape pen explosion, find out more about your right to compensation for your losses. You may have more ability to hold someone accountable than you realize.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

DelVecchio & Miller, LLC
1300 5th Ave., Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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