The threats posed by e-cigarettes (also referred to as a vape pens) to the well-being of consumers, have been well publicized in recent years. The recent death of a young man in Texas related to vaping has focused additional attention to the potential dangers of the practice.
On January 27, 24-year-old William Brown lost his life when his vape pen exploded, launching projectile that caused a tear in his carotid artery. At the time of the incident, Brown was in a vehicle with his grandmother, Alice Brown. “He popped it and it exploded, and that’s when it shot across his mouth,” she said during an interview.
According to reports of the incident, Brown was severely injured after the battery in the device malfunctioned, melting portions of plastic from the vehicle to the pen. The pen then propelled debris into the young man’s face and neck. Brown was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital, but died two days later.
Brown’s grandmother indicated that the x-rays revealed the metal stem embedded in the position where the blood flows to the brain.
The growing problem of exploding vape pens
This incident involving an exploding vape pen is not the only one that has resulted in wrongful death in the recent past. Just last year, a 38-year-old Florida man suffered fatal injuries to the face from an exploding e-cigarette. The injuries he sustained included 80 percent of his body burned with the cause of death identified by the medical examiner as a “projectile wound of the head.”
For the period between 2009 and 2016, the U.S. Fire Administration reports there were 133 severe injuries resulting from the use of e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and other related devices.
Electronic cigarettes were introduced into the marketplace in about 2007, and since then have developed into a $6.6 billion per year industry. During this time, many proponents of vaping have aggressively marketed this activity as safer than traditional cigarette smoking. However, the research is almost nil on the long-term effects of inhaling the chemicals in the vapor of these devices. In fact, some of the chemicals used in the vape pens are toxic.
For instance, many e-cigarettes includes a chemical that has been associated with lung disease. The chemical – diacetyl – although presenting no health risk when consumed in food, poses harm when inhaled. It prevents the proper function of the cilia in the airways. The cilia are very small hairs that keep dirt and mucus from accumulating in the airways. Another chemical found in these vape products is 2,3 pentanedione. When the chemical is inhaled it produces similar negative effects as diacetyl.
A Harvard study revealed that even low doses of each of these chemicals can destroy the cilia. These findings raise alarms regarding the type of chemicals currently infused in electronic cigarettes and the level of their toxicity.
In addition, an increasing amount of research is indicating that teenagers who vape are also more likely to experiment with regular cigarettes.
If you have suffered an injury or health problems due to the use of a vape pen or e-cigarette, you may have the right to recover fair compensation for your losses. At Plattner Verderame, P.C. we are dedicated to helping you obtain the justice you deserve. To set up a free case review at our Phoenix office, call us today at 602-266-2002, or complete our contact form.
I have been active in leadership in the Arizona Association for Justice (lawyers who represent injured folks, and formerly known as the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) since 1985. I served as President in 1991. I was an active participant in battles to protect the Arizona Constitution from the insurance industry and big business interests in 1986, 1990 and 1994.
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