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The Law Of… Exploding Cigarettes

E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, have been branded as a method of cutting down or cutting out tobacco based cigarettes, posing a much lesser danger to respiratory systems. However, with e-cigarette popularity still on the increase, Emma Bottomley, Personal Injury specialist, questions their true safety as reports of exploding e-cigarettes continue to hit the headlines.

The Evolution Of E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes have actually been around since the late 1960s when a Korean War veteran was granted a patent for a ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’. It wasn’t until the smoking ban law was introduced in July 2007 to the UK and other western countries, that vaping would rise exponentially in popularity.

The rise in users was unprecedented and in 2013, a study found that e-cigarette users had tripled in just 1 year. The NHS tentatively suggest that e-cigarettes can be a nicotine replacement therapy and whilst the long term effects of the substances in them used are a lot less risky than their carcinogenic filled cousin, the cigarette, there is still need for more research.

As the e-cigarette continues to flourish in popularity for both smokers and non-smokers alike, there is a serious issue that is causing personal injury to those who choose to turn to vaping.

Exploding E-cigarettes

In April 2017, Ian Culbertson was watching the TV when his e-cigarette burned through his trousers and skin whilst he was watching TV. He suffered burns down his back and leg.

In May 2017 Ellie Petty was driving home when her e-cig exploded in her pocket, setting her clothes on fire in the process. She was left with serious burns on her hand and legs.

In August 2017, it was reported that an exploded e-cigarette had led to a security scare at London’s Euston Station after it was believed to have exploded in a bag. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The above are just a handful of examples of when e-cigarettes have posed serious danger.

E-Cigarettes Safety

According to Electrical Safety First, 2.6 million adults in the UK are now using e-cigarettes to help them move away from cigarettes.

As a result, they have provided the following guidance about vape safety:

  • Follow the provided instructions carefully – check you’re using the correct charger for the capacity of your vape’s battery
  • Pay close attention to any warning labels
  • Don’t charge vapes for long periods of time. Never leave one plugged in overnight or leave it unattended
  • Never keep loose e-cig batteries in your pocket
  • Avoid unbranded or cheap e-cigarettes

It is always worth purchasing anything electrical from a reputable retail establishment, including e-cigarettes. Reputable retailers are regulated and therefore, products they sell are tested for safety. Likewise, if you buy a vape charger online, be aware that other countries do not have the same strict health and safety measures in place that the UK does.

Electrical Safety First also have a guide on buying electrical goods online that provides guidance about signs of faulty devices.

Emma commented:

Whilst exploding e-cigarettes are far from an everyday occurrence, there is clearly a significant risk to users.”

“It is incredibly important that manufacturers of e-cigarettes warn consumers of the potential risks and guide them in detail on how to stay safe when charging or using one of their products. Labelling is key here.”

“Consumers need to remain vigilant and avoid buying cheap e-cigarettes. It is always worth spending more on products that are safe, rather than putting health and safety into question by saving a few pennies in the first instance.”

Written by Emma Bottomley.

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