With recent campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes have been touted as a reasonable, more "healthy" and non-addictive alternative. It's an electronic device that creates a mist that can be inhaled. They run on batteries and use either heat or ultrasound to have an aerosol effect - giving users the look and feel of smoking, without actual smoke inhalation and nicotine. A report by the Boston University School of Public Health found that the level of carcinogens in electronic cigarettes was almost 1,000 times lower than the level found in regular cigarettes. But, as a consumer recently discovered, e-cigarettes also may harbor a unique risk of their own - a possible design defect that may soon give rise to an increased number of products liability lawsuits.
ABC News reported recently that a man is recovering in a Florida hospital after suffering severe burns when an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth. His wife told investigators that it sounded like a rocket had exploded in the house, and the chief fire inspector who responded to the scene immediately attributed the incident to a faulty rechargeable lithium battery. Product liability attorneys, however, know that the real cause has yet to be determined - and it's a determination that may one day take place in a court of law. Currently the use of e-cigarettes is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that consumers who opt to use the devices basically do so at their own risk.