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Claude Wyle
Claude Wyle
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E-Cig Explosion Almost Paralyzes Tennessee Man:

5 comments

So why do E-cigarettes have such a passionate following, when it seems that every week we learn of more and more exploding batteries and injuries? As a dangerous and defective products attorney, it is my duty to inform the public of potential dangers in using certain products and how to avoid injury. Although my last article on vaporizers and e-cigarettes caused a bit of an uproar, and more than a bit of hate mail, I believe it’s important to continue to advocate for consumer’s rights, and to ensure that these devices are made safely and distributed according to law, and are consumer-friendly, with proper warnings. It seems to me that the vape industry is full of individuals and companies who want to take short cuts not normally allowed American manufacturers, distributors or retailers. With batteries made in China and sold without any labeling and no warnings, and e-cigarettes sold with no warnings or proper instructions for safety, we have an explosive situation on our hands, and in our pockets, and in our cars, and occasionally in our faces. That’s why this case below is especially troubling.

 

Cordero Caples, a 29 year old man from Tennessee is in the hospital after an electronic cigarette exploded in his face this past Friday. Mr. Caples suffered a fractured vertebra, facial fractures, and at least one missing tooth in the sudden explosion. And to make matters worse? The injuries he sustained from the explosion may leave him permanently paralyzed, never to walk again.

 

Although no official reports about what caused the explosion have been released, a smoke shop owner in Memphis was shown a photo of the e-cigarette Caples was using and noticed that the battery seemed odd. “This is way too powerful to power this” said Mary Grace Burns, owner of the smoke shop. “Way too hot of a battery. You can have a way-too-high amped battery in there or something like that could easily misfire and cause something like that. It’s operator error though.”

 

Caples has been in surgery since Sunday, and his condition has been upgraded to “fair.”

 

“Any sudden move can cause him to be in a paralyzed state, and that is something we don’t want. He’s going to need 24-hour care for a while and constant monitoring from family and friends and loved ones. You know it is heart breaking but we’re going to bond together” said Caples’ sister.

 

So even without the official word on why the e-cigarette exploded, it looks like it may be due to faulty battery, or a battery in the device that was much too powerful for Caples’ cigarette. In any event, shouldn’t manufacturers be aware that these higher amped batteries are being used in their products? Shouldn’t we be warning users not to tamper with batteries, or upgrade devices with such dangerous power sources? How are we as consumer to know what kind of battery goes in these devices without the company alerting us as to the dangers of such use, or misuse? If a company makes a product, it’s up to them to tell us how to properly use it, and understand how it may be used after purchase. E-cigarettes have gone unregulated and the sellers of the components have been unaccountable for too long; it’s time we hold them responsible for the products they produce and sell.

 

And you know, I would feel this way about any product sold in this country where we supposedly have the best consumer protection. If the product is defective and harms someone, the companies and individuals who are responsible must be held accountable, even if the product is as popular as the e-cigs.

 

And, in my last post on this subject, I asked those who commented most strongly to present to me some evidence supporting the safety of e-cigarettes, or even how they were healthier than commercial cigarettes, but I got not responses. I wonder if those who were so passionate in their condemnation of my last post on this subject are really shills of the e-cigarette or tobacco industry?

 

unnamedHello, I’m Claude Wyle, a San Francisco exploding battery attorney. Have an idea for a topic you’d like to see covered here? Feel free to contact me or visit www.ccwlawyers.com

 

5 Comments

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  1. Ryan says:
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    Batteries explode because of user error. Each battery has an amp limit, and if used along with a custom build atomizer on a mechanical mod, the atomizer must be build to a resistance suitable for the maximum allowable amp draw based on the battery specs. When you demand too many amps from a battery, it can vent or explode. This can also happen if you fire on a short.

  2. Ryan says:
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    “So even without the official word on why the e-cigarette exploded, it looks like it may be due to faulty battery, or a battery in the device that was much too powerful for Caples’ cigarette.”

    So, you’re assuming (incorrectly) that the battery was defective.

    “In any event, shouldn’t manufacturers be aware that these higher amped batteries are being used in their products?”

    You can never have too many amps. It’s not having enough amps for a particular custom-built atomizer coil with resistance too low for the battery to handle.

    “Shouldn’t we be warning users not to tamper with batteries, or upgrade devices with such dangerous power sources?”

    I think it’s common sense not to tamper with batteries. It’s also dangerous to stick a fork in an electrical socket.

    How are we as consumer to know what kind of battery goes in these devices without the company alerting us as to the dangers of such use, or misuse?

    Basically every store does. It’s basically impossible to force someone to educate themselves about electrical currents and circuits, or to be willing to spend the extra few dollars on a good battery that’s suitable for their needs.

    Lithium cells are used in everything from cameras to flashlights to vapes. They have different specs and different ratings for different applications.

  3. Claude Wyle says:
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    First of all, thank you sincerely for your comments and insight. My understanding is that most batteries used in e-cigarettes are bought in the same stores where they sell the e-cigarette devices. And from my observation, there are absolutely no warnings or recommendations on the devices. And some batteries blow up when they are being charged. And some batteries blow up when they contact the e-cig device in a person’s pocket. The e-cig industry does not seem to be following the same safety procedures as other product manufacturers and consumers are paying the price across this counttry.

  4. Ryan says:
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    Claude, there is much to be learned about battery safety. The fact remains that millions of people continue to vape safely, many for years on a daily basis, and never have an incident, myself included, and this is due to knowledge.

    Yes, most vape stores carry some models of batteries by some manufacturers. There are many. There are also different chemistries of the same size battery, such as IMR vs ICR. IMR are known as ‘unprotected’ batteries, which sounds hazardous, however they utilize a safer, less volatile chemistry, and are much less likely to vent when over-stressed.

    ICR batteries are outdated, meant for cameras, and are what’s known as ‘protected’ batteries, because they have a protective mechanism to help prevent against venting, but if it is pushed too hard and forced to vent, it is much more dramatic and violent than what you would see from an IMR battery.

    i think that, despite the wealth of information on this subject via a simple google search, some people that neglect to do any reading at all on the subject are misled by the terms ‘protected’ and ‘unprotected’, and don’t realize that ‘unprotected’ IMR batteries are much safer and more appropriate for this application. I’ve even read news stories from major media outlets advising people (incorrectly) to use ‘protected’ ICE (dangerous) batteries, which is irresponsible journalism and will likely lead to further injury if it hasn’t already.

    Frequently, people can buy batteries from stores that don’t sell vaporizers, and can try to save money by purchasing inexpensive batteries, such as ICR’s, from other locations. Couple this with ignorance regarding the math involved in ohm’s law, and you do have some people at risk.

    Education and knowledge are key. Millions of people vape on a daily basis, and millions of people use scissors on a daily basis. Occasionally, a handful hurt themselves. I would actually think scissors are responsible for more injuries.

    I refer to those that manage to get their devices to explode as the ‘Richard Pryor’s of vaping.
    D

    Further, the guy that had his blow up in his pocket acknowledges that it was his fault, he had damaged batteries with the protective sleeve on them damaged, the metal beneath exposed, being used in a powered-on device with no back battery cover on, and his keys contacted the damaged and exposed battery as electrical current was flowing through it.

    This could have been prevented by having the battery cover installed, and/or using batteries that have the protective wrapper still in tact.

  5. Claude Wyle says:
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    Dear Ryan: Your comments are very well presented and I will research this more thoroughly. You clearly know more about batteries than the average consumer. Unfortunately, the average consumer, not the very smartest consumer like yourself, buys a product and relies upon the fact that most products sold in the US are safe when they leave the manufacturer’s possession. If there is any further research to be done on a product before it can be used safely, then there should at least be a warning about that need. I have observed only e-cigs with no warnings or instructions at all. Maybe the manufacturers are getting smarter and the new products are coming out with better warnings. In any event, I truly appreciate your taking the time to comment on my blog, and to help educate our readers. Thanks