E-cigarettes starting to attract heightened regulatory scrutiny

Following is a question that seems reasonably posed in light of industry principals in the e-cigarette business contending that injuries stemming from product use often trace back to consumer error.

To wit: How likely does it seem that an adult who takes the time to research and ultimately turn to a product as an alternative to traditional cigarettes for health reasons would then use that product in a manner that results in it exploding in his or her face?

A recent media piece spotlights the progressively surging popularity of e-cigarettes in the United States since their initial promotion several years back. In noting the reportedly $3.5 billion industry, the Wall Street Journal passes on the unsavory reality that “cheaply made lithium-ion batteries in the products can unexpectedly explode.”

And explode they have, in multiple instances that feature truly scary outcomes. In one instance, an explosion cracked a victim’s teeth and left facial and other body scars. In another, a user lost part of a finger and several teeth.

Understandably, product liability litigation alleging defective e-cigarette products is reportedly on the rise. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that it has received more than 130 reports of “overheating, fires and explosions of the devices” domestically over the past several years.

And plaintiffs can certainly prevail in those cases when assisted by an experienced product liability attorney who carefully documents an injury claim and comprehensively identifies all negligent actors who can be pursued for damages.

In a case from last year, for example, a jury awarded a woman nearly $2 million for personal injuries she suffered following the explosion of an e-cigarette battery being recharged in her car.