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New Vape Device Explosion Raises Concern with the FDA

New Vape Device Explosion Raises Concern with the FDA

A recent vape device explosion has increased concerns for the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Already, the FDA has recommendations to avoid “vape” battery explosions. The latest explosion in September 2018 mimicked a smoke bomb detonation in a vehicle. One passenger was airlifted to a hospital, and the driver suffered severe burns.

The vape device shattered and exploded, causing a fire in the vehicle and burning a hole in the driver’s seat. The driver had allegedly recently purchased new batteries for the device.

As we’ve covered, vape pens have posed dangers for years. In May 2018, the first known fatality from an exploding vape pen was reported. Vape pens’ lithium-ion batteries are thought to be the cause of vape pen explosions, which have also caused house fires. The batteries are the same ones used in cell phones, laptops and other electronics. Here’s the latest on the dangers of vape pens and how to stay protected.

New Vape Device Explosion Raises Concern with the FDA More Vape Pen Users Are at Risk

The first modern electronic cigarette, or vape pen, was invented in 2003. Since then, vape pens have become commonplace and can even take the form of actual pens or USB flash drives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that vape pens are not safe for kids, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products. Given that they’ve caused at least 195 explosions and fires from 2009 to 2016, vape pen safety is questionable for all users.

Vaping is particularly popular with teens, who are more likely to use vape pens than cigarettes. A 2017 study reported by the American Psychiatric Association found about 13 percent of junior high students and nearly 28 percent of high schoolers in America used a vaping device in the past year.

More than 30 percent of teen vape pen users will start smoking within 6 months, compared to only 8.1 percent of teens who don’t use vape pens. Two-thirds of teens don’t realize nicotine, which can harm adolescent brain development, is in most vape pens, saying only flavoring is in the pen.

In 2018, the FDA called vaping an “epidemic” for high school students, with more than 1.7 million high school students using vaping devices on at least a monthly basis. The FDA has stated the agency may ban flavored electronic cigarettes, which attract some younger users. While vape pens have been useful in helping some adults quit smoking, the FDA is considering those benefits against the risk of kids becoming addicted to tobacco, with vaping as a gateway.

New Vape Device Explosion Raises Concern with the FDA Dangers of Vape Pens

It wasn’t until only recently that the FDA required vape pens to submit product ingredients listings. Besides the sometimes harmful ingredients vape pens contain, they also may have been manufactured with inherent dangers that can cause explosions or fires at any time.

Lithium-ion batteries are dangerous because if the strip in the battery that keeps electrodes from touching is breached, the electrodes can come into contact and emit heat that causes an explosion. Some of these batteries contain a skin-burning compound, too. Since a person is often holding on to their vape pen when it explodes, these dangers become more intense.

While lithium-ion batteries are widely used in a variety of devices, minor design errors can be deadly. Anyone who uses a vape pen can protect themselves by researching the brand to investigate past problems and complaints. Some manufacturers may cut corners. That’s why buying vape pens without proper research, like buying them from a classmate or off the street, increases likelihood of danger.

The following can all contribute to an increased likelihood of lithium-ion battery failure:

  • Excessive vibration
  • High heat
  • Batteries that are charged below freezing

When a lithium-ion battery is overheating, some warning signs to watch out for include excessive heat, hissing and bulging. It’s best to put the device in a safe place (outdoors on a non-compusitble surface) and move as far away from it as possible if you notice these signs.

Some ways to increase safety while using vape pens include to:

  • Use vape devices with safety features
  • Keep loose batteries in a case to prevent contact with metal objects
  • Only charge the vape device with the charger that came with it, never with a phone or tablet charger
  • Don’t leave a vape device charging unattended, including while you’re sleeping
  • Replace the batteries if they get wet or damaged

The vape device should also come with thorough instructions and recommendations. Read all those and follow them when you use your device.

When Is the Manufacturer to Blame for Exploding Vape Pens?

Lithium-ion batteries can pose significant dangers, and it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to keep all consumers safe, especially when these are used in vape pens. If you, your teen or a loved one is a victim of an exploding vape pen, the manufacturer’s negligence may be to blame.

Some warning signs of negligence include when a manufacturer fails to test vape pen devices altogether or rushes a product to market without proper testing, knowingly uses defective components, and doesn’t provide clear warnings to consumers about dangers.

If you or a loved one has experienced serious injuries because of an exploding vape pen, contact the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums Birmingham defective product attorney team. We offer free consultations and can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Lawsuit: Labrador Puppies Were Poorly Trained & Failed To Carry Out Duties

Lawsuit: Labrador Puppies Were Poorly Trained & Failed To Carry Out Duties

When you purchase a product, you expect it to be in perfect working condition and have the ability to fulfill the purpose it’s supposed to. Dangerous products that are released to the public may find themselves at the center of product liability lawsuits. When the product manufacturer is deemed negligent and puts consumers at risk, they may have to pay a settlement.

One unique product liability lawsuit was recently filed in May 2018. The Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring claimed Warren Retrievers Inc. and CEO Charles D. Warren Jr. sold non-functional “service dogs” to patients with “invisible diseases” like diabetes. The lawsuit cites more than 50 complaints by dog owners that the dogs were little more than untrained puppies, in an investigation covering several years.

Dogs may well be one of the most surprising entities named as products in a lawsuit like this. Here is more information about the lawsuit, how the lawsuit fits into product liability, and what you should know if you experience a similar situation.

New Lawsuit Claims Service Dogs Were Merely Untrained PuppiesExpensive Defective Products

The lawsuit against Warren Retrievers Inc. claims the nonprofit organization charged $18,000 to $27,000 for 3-month-old Labrador retriever puppies that were poorly trained and failed to carry out the duties they were advertised to, let alone execute basic tasks. The puppies cited in the suit were not able to come when commanded or walk properly on leashes, making them of little use to the patients who received them. Patients were told the diabetic alert dogs would be able to detect blood sugar levels, get help from humans, and dial emergency services.

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $2,500 per willful violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit also seeks $5,000 per violation of the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions Law, as well as refunds for dogs that do not have the skills promoted by the nonprofit.

Something that may hurt the defense’s credibility is that Warren is also accused of claiming he served in the Marine Corps, trained dogs in the military, and was medically discharged due to diabetes. The lawsuit claims Warren never served in any military branch. Warren’s statement that he did may have influenced customers and donors, which adds to the complexity of the case. Warren’s lawyer denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

New Lawsuit Claims Service Dogs Were Merely Untrained PuppiesHow This Dog Lawsuit Relates to Product Liability

Some product liability lawsuits involve deadly products like malfunctioning MRI machines and nail guns. Puppies might be cute and cuddly, but in this case, the threat of death as a result of their defects was also a reality. Patients who relied on these “service dogs” to protect them in cases of extreme blood sugar levels could have collapsed in a dangerous environment or experienced deadly kidney failure. Patients who obtained the dogs in hopes of getting vital protection in an emergency received no security.

On top of that, they had to pay up to tens of thousands of dollars for a service animal. The costs involved with the purchase and potential damages incurred all add up to what may be deemed as negligence in court.

Consumer protection laws mandate that products meet the ordinary expectations of a customer. The product does not necessarily have to be sold to the person who experiences an injury because of it. It may be a gift or a product that is used by someone who did not purchase it.

Product defects may include design defects, manufacturing defects or marketing defects. Proper warnings of dangers for any product must always be supplied, as well. In this case, a lack of training for the puppies may relate to the design of the product, while the way the dogs were marketed as service dogs is also an influential factor.

Because this case involves more than 50 complaints about the dogs/products, there is strength in numbers regarding the credibility of the claim. This case shows us that living and breathing life forms may be involved in future product liability cases.

What to Do If You Encounter a Defective Product

If you or a loved one is seriously injured by a defective product, you should keep the product intact, get medical help, keep organized records, and contact a Birmingham product liability attorney. You may be one of many people who has been hurt by the same type of defective product. Your attorney should offer a free consultation and work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no risk to you, and you only pay attorney fees if you win.

In a case like this, where you have purchased a service animal who doesn’t deliver the services provided, you may also want to consult with an attorney. Although the damage may not be immediately noticeable, your health and livelihood deserve to be protected, no matter what product you are using.

This case is also a reminder to donors that they should research and thoroughly consider the value of the “nonprofits” they’re donating to. Avoid giving your funds to a fraudulent organization that could actually be harming people. Evaluate case studies and testimonials so you know you’re supporting upstanding organizations.

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