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When a safe product abandons its promise

In a society where cigarettes have been replaced by the newer, allegedly healthier and more technologically savvy product called the electronic cigarette, consumers and experts alike have expressed conflicting opinions. Are e-cigarettes really the cigarette of the future, do they fulfill health expectations and, most of all, are they safe? There are a number of facts Connecticut consumers can keep in mind to become prepared in the case that the success of this popular product goes awry. 

The New York Post recently covered a nightmarish incident in which an e-cigarette malfunctioned while in use. The man smoking the e-cigarette suffered mouth and face lacerations, second degree burns and seven missing teeth, calling the accident an explosion; such cases of e-cigarette malfunctioning have been in the public spotlight since they began exploding in 2009. The Post article focused on the man's battery that had blown up, as they appear to be to blame. 

Many consumers praise e-cigarettes as alternatives to their regular smoking habits, but others are skeptical of these relatively new devices. The U.S. Fire Administration analyzes e-cigarette incidents reported from 2009-2016, stating in a report that a malfunctioning battery in an e-cigarette will usually exhibit the following signs:

  • Overheating
  • Loud noise
  • Smoke 
  • Flames
  • Forceful ejection of battery

According to the USFA, 38 of the 133 individuals who reported fire and explosion accidents from these devices suffered severe injuries, including loss of a body part and facial injuries. Unfortunately, matters for some grew worse after batteries -- many of which contain lithium-ion -- exploded and fire spread to other parts of consumers' homes. The USFA's statistics show that the number of these horrifying incidents appears to be increasing. Results concluded that, should this trend continue, users should be aware of the risks; however, stronger safety warnings in user manuals could help e-cigarette consumers better understand these potential dangers.   




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