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In what may be the first incident of its kind, a truck driver crashed into a highway guardrail in Indiana yesterday when his e-cigarette exploded in his hand. The driver's injuries were reportedly primarily due to the e-cig explosion and not the crash and no one else was injured, local ABC News reported.
Indiana State Highway Patrol troopers who handled the crash said that they had never heard of any such accident happening before. Perhaps unsurprisingly, an e-cig advocate confirmed this claim, saying accidents were unheard of or very rare. But the alternative nicotine delivery systems have not been uncontroversial.
Troy Leblanc, who represents the Kentucky Smoke Free association, told reporters that more than 9 million Americans use e-cigs regularly. The vaporizers do not emit an odor and may not have any harmful effect on others, in contrast to regular cigarettes with second-smoke consequences. Leblanc owns 5 e-cig stores and sells to retailers and he says that business has been booming in recent years.
But many places have limited use in public in particular, and health officials are not yet convinced that these alternative nicotine delivery systems are a healthy replacement for smoking rolled tobacco. More widespread regulation is inevitable as more becomes known about these devices. And now, there is this news -- a device might explode while driving!
Feeling Relatively Lucky
Leblanc, the e-cigarette advocate, pointed out that nothing is yet known about the device the driver used and whether he properly filled or charged it. Some e-cigs are rechargeable, some disposable, and the rechargeable ones require filling. A problem with maintenance might have caused the truck driver's e-cig to explode.
He pointed out that the incident in Indiana was not only rare. The driver was also relatively lucky, as the accident and his injuries could have been much worse.
Still, it seems likely that the driver will sue his e-cig manufacturer for personal injury, given what happened. While it may have been a rare occurrence, it is worrisome. A product defect that leads to random explosions is a prime target for a lawsuit.
If you or someone you know has been injured due to a defective product, speak to an attorney. Many personal injury lawyers consult for free or no fee. Have your claim assessed.