Electronic Cigarette Explosion; Iowa Man Claims Battery Exploded Inside Mouth
January 14th was a typical morning for Andrew Hall. He claims to have been going through his morning routine, getting ready for work, taking a few puffs on his e-cigarette when BANG! The day became anything but typical. At that moment Hall alleges that his e-cigarette exploded inside his mouth while he was smoking the apparatus, causing him to lose seven teeth and suffering severe burns to his neck and face. The incident is the latest in a series of recent e-cigarette explosions that have been prominent on local news stations across the country.
In a December report filed by the U.S. surgeon general it was found that e-cigarettes have increased in popularity with High School students by 900% between 2011 and 2015. And while the potential health ramifications are still being researched, the batteries powering the entire “vape” industry are exploding in growing numbers causing serious physical harm to U.S. consumers. In 2014 the U.S. Fire Administration wrote that “the shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like ‘flaming rockets’ when a battery fails.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in January that they are opening a public seminar, or “workshop,” to aggregate research and examine the information available into exploding e-cigarettes. This news comes months after the FDA announced that they would begin regulating e-cigarettes in the same manner that they currently regulate old fashioned cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. The meeting, expected to be held in April, will be attended by scientists, doctors, manufacturers, retailers, government officials, and researchers.
Since 2009 the FDA claims to have identified more than 130 incidents of e-cigarette batteries exploding, or going up in flames, due to the battery overheating. Those incidents led to the injury of at least 50 people and more than half of the alleged occurrences led to property damage. In each incident the lithium-ion battery became unstable and exploded without warning, but industry insiders contend that the vast majority of batteries overheat, catch fire, or explode due to consumers over charging the product against instructions.
But not all law makers are as convinced.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and that seems to be the case – again and again – for many popular e-cigarettes that have injured dozens of people,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. “With any other product, serious action would have been taken and e-cigarettes should be no exception. Despite the explosions, no recalls have been issued. It’s radio silence from both the industry and the feds, so that’s why I’m sounding the alarm.”
And while Schumer leads the crusade against unsafe e-cigarettes there are other elected officials, like Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, who believes that the FDA’s proposed laws over the e-cigarette industry are too extreme. Hunter has gone as far as petitioning President Trump to prevent the new FDA rules governing e-cigarettes from going in to effect as scheduled in August 2018. The new laws give manufactures three months to submit paperwork for products to be retroactively approved going back to February 2007. Hunter has reportedly asked President Trump to push back the start date or repeal the law entirely.
The graphic pictures taken by Andrew Hall, and posted on his Facebook page, once again underscores the growing concerns over the ubiquitous batteries found in most portable consumer electronics that were at the center of the unprecedented Samsung recall of 2016. And until a new rechargeable battery is discovered the hundreds of computer, phone, and hover board recalls are likely to continue.