As a parent of a teenager, you’ve probably already had the talk about cigarettes and chewing tobacco with your kid. Alcohol, dangerous driving, dating, skipping school and drugs have likely also come up. However, even the most diligent and well-intentioned parents may overlook one of the most common forms of substance abuse in teenagers today.
Vape pens or e-cigarettes weren’t really around when today’s parents were teenagers, but they have become a preferred method of nicotine delivery for most underage users. Unfortunately, some of these units have exploded and injured their users.
While fewer teens are smoking tobacco these days, which is a good thing, quite a few of them are using vape pens instead, and they do so under the impression that vape pens are safer. In reality, nicotine is addictive regardless of how it gets delivered. Additionally, there are other risks these devices pose.
Battery explosions have injured thousands
Vape pens, vaporizers and e-cigarettes are devices that range in size from something the size of an average marker to a pack of cards with a pen on top. There are different styles and designs, some meant to look a lot like cigarettes, others intended to be distinctly different from the tactile experience of traditional smoking. They probably don’t smell anything like tobacco either, so don’t rely on your nose to sniff it out.
Regardless of what they look like, it is easy to see the potential risk in using an internal battery system to superheat liquids in close proximity to your face. That is essentially what an e-cigarette does. An internal battery provides the energy to heat a coil which then turns liquid inside the pen into vapor that the user can inhale.
Well-manufactured and properly maintained e-cigarettes are likely safe in the vast majority of cases. However, retailers willing to sell these devices to teenagers may not care so much about the quality of the devices they offer. Similarly, people reselling vape pens to teens in a non-business setting could very easily have extremely low quality vaporizing units for sale.
Does your teenager really know the risks?
Instead of going on a rant or lecturing your teenager about the dangers of vape pens, consider asking them for a little information about the device. They very likely know a bit about them, if for no other reason than they see people using them on social media or in real-life social settings. Once you start the dialogue, you can explain the addictive nature of nicotine to your child, as well as the potential for an explosion of the batteries in these e-cigarettes or vape pens.
Parents of teenagers who have been hurt, especially if they suffered a serious or disfiguring injury, may have legal options to hold retailers or manufacturers accountable for the defective products they provided to underage users. Talking with a Michigan attorney who understands product liability in this cutting-edge area can help you figure out what options you have.