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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Up In Smoke


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered cartridges filled with a nicotine liquid that, when heated, creates an inhalable mist. Many people “vape” e-cigarettes trying to kick their habit of smoking cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes have been met with much controversy in recent years.

First, there is no proven evident that e-cigarettes actually do help people quit smoking. Secondly, reports have shown that there are potentially toxic chemicals in the solution, including one used to make antifreeze. If that isn’t dangerous enough, there have been several cases of smokers being seriously burned by these battery-powered devices. One recent incident has left a 21-year-old Florida man in a medically induced coma after an e-cigarette he was smoking blew up in his face. His sister said she was lying in bed when she heard the blast go off. She rushed to the room to find her brother lying on the floor and covered in soot, his whole face and neck burned. Doctors said he has internal and external burns and damage to his lungs from the explosion. They also believe that when the cigarette exploded, the mouth piece went down his throat and exploded again. It is unclear what caused the device to go off, but firefighters said the likely cause was the device’s built-in lithium battery. Days later, another man suffered burns to his face and lungs when his e-cigarette exploded. The injured man said when heard and felt the burning sensation he didn’t realize it was the e-cigarette in his pocket that had exploded. In 2014, a Phoenix home nearly burned to the ground from a charging e-cigarette. The home owner heard the smoke detector and found the fire in the bedroom. Fire officials said the cartridge of the e-cigarette overheated while it was plugged into the charger, sparking the fire.

A typical e-cigarette consists of three main components: a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, an atomizer and a replaceable or refillable cartridge containing liquid nicotine and other chemicals. The battery heats up a coil attached to a wick, which heats the liquid containing nicotine, thus creating vapor that is then inhaled. According to fire officials, unlike those of mobile phones many e-cigarette batteries lack over-current protection and thus continue charging even after fully charged. The coil can potentially overheat and the battery explode in the unit.

After several fire incidents on airplanes from the devices, the FDA has recently banned e-cigarettes in checked baggage. It cited two fires started by e-cigarettes, including one in the cargo hold of a plane at Boston’s Logan Airport in August 2014 and a January 2015 incident where luggage sitting in the baggage area at Los Angeles International Airport burst into flames.

To date, more than 40 state attorneys general have signed a letter urging the FDA to begin regulating these devices, and not because of fire risks. Manufacturers and distributors are not required to include health warnings on the packaging or to use child-proofing on any products, yet a study revealed a cocktail of harmful chemicals, including diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze, and nitrosomes, a known cancer-causing chemicals. The FDA also found that some e-cigarettes labeled as having no nicotine actually contained the addictive substance.

It is uncertain if e-cigarettes will become regulated in the near future, or at all. In the meantime, if you choose to continue smoking e-cigarettes, fire officials have issued this advice when charging the device:

  • Always use the charger supplied with your kit and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never charge a battery that has signs of damage that has been dropped, or has been subjected to impact.
  • Check that your e-cigarette battery has overcharge or overheat protection.
  • Remove the battery from charge when fully charged; do not overcharge.
  • Never leave an e-cigarette unattended while charging.
  • Don’t use if wet or exposed to water.
  • Never over-tighten a battery on to the charger – plug the charger in first, then gently screw the battery in until the light on the charger flashes.
  • Clean the battery center pin and charger contact at least once a week with tissue or alcohol wipes.

Finally, and most importantly, make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly; smoke alarms save lives.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.


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  1. Michael says:
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    I like to suggest reading some articles…

    British Government: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review

    Yale School of public Health: http://medicine.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=11459

    120 French med. Experts: http://sante.lefigaro.fr/actualite/2015/10/28/24255-lappel-120-medecins-faveur-cigarette

    Last one in French but you can use google translate.

    The biggest risk is the use of a so called mechanical e-cigarette without any clue what you are doing. By the way.. e-cigarettes are in the market now for 10 years and there is no known case that anyone is harmed by vape. By the way.. Water is also a chemical used for “cooling”, alcohol is used for anti freeze, oil can be used to heat food. The physical properties doesn’t make a ingredient dangerous by design, oh.. Maybe I should add that this stuff is also used in medical inhalers and not dangerous there.. Hmm.. Funny

  2. Tonya says:
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    Exactly, Michael. This is all a load of bull. Just do a search ‘ecig exploding’ on Google and look at the discrepancies in the reports. The Florida guy’s sister was “in the next room with her son” in one and “lying in bed” in this one. And the other said the ecig exploded, the mouthpiece went down his throat and exploded again. That is impossible being the battery is not attached to the mouthpiece. This is just the FDA trying to ban ecig because they can’t make any money on them. And, just to add, I am living proof that ecigs do help people to quit smoking. I started “vaping” 5 years ago and quit after smoking Marlboro Lights for 20 years and haven’t looked back.