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E-cigarettes may self-ignite even when used properly

Early last month, a carry-on bag caught fire at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. Luckily, a vigilant Transportation Security Administration officer got the flaming bag out of the airport and away from people.

"I saw a threat and I decided to take it out of the path of the passengers," he told reporters.

It turned out that the fire was caused by an e-cigarette that ignited on its own.

Similarly, a California man's e-cigarette ignited in his pocket while he was shopping. Surveillance video caught the sudden explosion of sparks and flame. Other people across the country have been confronted with the shock, pain and injury of sudden e-cigarette mishaps -- and the medical bills and other damages resulting from the incidents.

Many people see e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, although the research has yet to prove that. Regardless whether or not it's generally safer to vape than to smoke, few people would expect the vaping device to be as unstable or dangerous as these incidents suggest.

Reporters in Savannah checked with a woman who owns a local vape shop and sells e-cigarettes. According to her, most e-cigarette malfunctions can be avoided by using them correctly and by always remembering to turn them off when they're not in use.

She also said that you can often hear the problem before the e-cigarette self-ignites because it will emit a hissing sound.

She added that most e-cigarettes have safety settings and protected batteries. As demonstrated by the examples above and other similar incidents however, these seemingly simple precautions may not be effective at preventing a self-ignition incident.

Manufacturers, distributers and retailers may be legally responsible when a product they produce, distribute, or sell causes harm when used as expected. In fact, they may be held liable even when the product is used incorrectly, as long as that use was foreseeable.

If you have been injured by a self-igniting e-cigarette, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney who handles product liability cases.

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