When someone switches from cigarettes to e-cigarettes they hope to lead healthier lives.
No one expects the change to cause them more harm.
Gulfport resident William Switzer began using e-cigarettes in 2013. He believed they were a safe alternative to aid in him quitting cigarettes.
On Dec. 2, 2015, an e-cigarette, or vaporizer pen, blew up in his pocket. Switzer suffered second and third-degree burns after both the pen and its battery caught fire.
Switzer is now suing all parties responsible for the damages he suffered on nine counts of negligence and liability. Defendants in include Vapor Road, Joyetech USA, Global Vaping, and Korean manufacturing giant Samsung Electronics.
Samsung recently has been forced to recall millions of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cellphones, after many of them exploded and caught fire due to defective batteries. Among the e-cigarette batteries Switzer claims might have exploded in his pocket was a Samsung model INR 18650.
On Oct. 2, 2015, Switzer went to Vapor Road, an e-cigarette store on Tyrone Avenue, to buy a vaporizer system and component parts. He wasn’t knowledgeable about the batteries, so he turned to an employee for guidance. The suit claims an employee suggested he purchase the “Efest 18650 2100 3.7V 35 A” battery, the “Joyetech eVic Supreme” battery kit, and the “Sigelei Mod” vaporizer.
The battery kit included the Samsung battery that exploded in Switzer’s pocket.
Switzer followed the setup instructions that came with the device and used it as it was intended to be used.
The morning of the incident, Switzer throughout his hourlong commute to work, he used the vaporizer. When he arrived at 7 a.m., he put the pen in his front pocket. Later that morning, the explosion occurred.
Switzer was treated at Tampa General Hospital.
Vapor Road is located at 3334 Tyrone Ave., St. Petersburg. Its headquarters is in Seminole.