Doctors, victims, lawyers call for action after Denver7 investigation into e-cigarette explosions
DENVER – The use of e-cigarettes has exploded over the past several years among nicotine users both as an alternative to tobacco and as a device for people to quit smoking. But their exploding batteries have drawn concerns from a wide range of professionals – from regulators to medical and aviation professionals alike.
Denver7 Investigates has for months compiled among the most extensive databases of cases in which the devices, which are often powered by lithium-ion batteries, have caught aflame or exploded altogether – leaving their users and innocent bystanders sometimes with severe burns and other injuries.
But as the Federal Aviation Administration and federal regulators implement stronger restrictions on where people can take and use e-cigs, their use continues to expand, and the influx of questionably-engineered batteries being produced domestically and overseas continues to draw concerns.
Databases reveal vast extent of e-cig explosions, burns
Just last year in Colorado, there were 34 documented cases of e-cig batteries exploding, which left at least 27 people hospitalized with burns and other injuries. Doctors at University of Colorado Hospital (UCHealth) treated 16 e-cig-related burn victims alone.
“It seems to me that the battery is the problem with them,” said UCHealth Burn Center Director Dr. Anne Wagner. “Until somebody makes them have safe batteries, they’re not safe to be out in public.”
But Denver7 Investigates’ database -- compiled through lawsuits, federal reports, and online resources, including a site that compiles explosions -- details 253 cases of exploding or burning e-cigs worldwide since 2011. Most of them have happened over the past two years.
The stories are wide-ranging: the explosions happen at home, in cars and while people are simply walking down the street. Sometimes the devices are charging; other times they aren’t. Some people were carrying extra lithium-ion batteries separately from their device, some with keys or loose change in the same pocket.
Read full article here - ABC Denver7