An Oklahoma man said he is filing a lawsuit against a Chinese battery manufacturer after suffering severe burn injuries to his legs and hands when his e-cigarette blew up in his pants pocket.
Ethan Fullerton told Oklahoma’s KFOR Channel 4 News that he felt the e-cigarette getting increasingly warmer until it flared up in his pocket while he was in the Walmart parking lot in Weatherford, Okla.
“It’s not really like a bang, like a firecracker,” Mr. Fullerton told KFOR. “It’s more like someone put a blowtorch in your pocket and lit it. It’s just a real hot fireball that heats up, gets real big and goes back down.”
The incident left him with second- and third-degree burns on his legs and first-degree burns on his hands. Weeks later, he is still recovering from the burn injuries. He told KFOR that the process has been painful and rough and said people who use electronic nicotine delivery devices need to be aware of the dangers they present.
“Everybody needs to be aware, because I know a lot of people that [use e-cigarettes], and they carry the batteries in the exact same place.”
The rate of e-cigarette injuries caused by exploding batteries has risen dramatically alongside the popularity of the devices, but Mr. Fullerton’s lawyer told KFOR that his client’s case could be the first of its kind in Oklahoma.
He told KFOR that the complete lack of warnings on the box, battery, at the store, and inside the product packaging fail to communicate the risks of the device to customers.
“There’s nothing, nowhere, ever that says don’t keep this in your pocket, it’s dangerous. And, that’s the definition of a defective product here in the state of Oklahoma.”