E-cigarettes identified as a fire and public safety hazard

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Product Liability on Friday, February 6th, 2015

Essex residents may be surprised to learn that e-cigarettes may not be a safe alternative to smoking because they represent a new electrical hazard. A recent report noted Lincolnshire public services’ latest warnings about potential fires and injuries caused by the incorrect use or operation of e-cigarettes.

For example, failing to follow recommendations from manufacturers, can lead to a number of problems. Using non-compatible refills or the wrong charger can cause devices to malfunction, perhaps starting fires. Likewise, the liquid nicotine is dangerous if ingested or if it contacts bare skin, so should be kept well out of the reach of those who are especially vulnerable, such as children and pets.

As with any other electronic device, basic fire safety should be considered as well. Lincolnshire Trading Standards gives advice in their report about how to reduce the risk of fire, such as not leaving an e-cigarette charging overnight or unattended. They also suggest only purchasing products with the CE mark, which indicates that the product is compliant with European safety standards.

While following these rules may offer some protection, a product’s manufacturer may become liable for injuries sustained by consumers if they have not met their safety requirements during production. For instance, if the instructions provided are misleading, unclear or confusing, the manufacturers may be liable when the product malfunctions through incorrect use. Equally, if the product or any of its components has not been properly tested and certified as safe, the company may again be responsible for any accidents its customers encounter. These customers could then seek compensation from the company, as the latter could have been negligent in their duty to provide products safe for public use.

Source: Market Rasen Mail, “Don’t let your e-cigarette go up in smoke,” Feb. 2, 2015

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