Another tragic incident of an exploding e-cigarette causing fatal injuries recently occured in Fort Worth, Texas when William Brown’s vaporizer smoking pen exploded inside his mouth. Brown, age 24, was sitting in his parked car smoking an e-cig he just purchased from a convenience store when the device suddenly exploded. Severely injured, Brown was rushed to the hospital. He succumbed to his injuries, reported as a severed carotid artery in his neck that was damaged by “penetrating trauma from exploding vaporizer pen,” two days after the initial incident.
This latest tragedy follows in the wake of other fatal incidents in which e-cigarette users were killed from the exploding devices. In May, a man was killed in Florida when the e-cig he was smoking exploded. In this case, shrapnel was propelled into his head while a nearby house also caught on fire. In addition to the fatalities, many other e-cig users have been hurt by the more than 2,000 vape pen explosions and burn injuries that have been reported in the United States from 2015 to 2017.
The vape pens explosions are attributed to the unstable lithium-ion batteries found in e-cigarettes. According to the Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp, individuals exposed to exploding vape pens may “commonly suffer flame burns, blast injuries and chemical burns from these incidents.”
Despite the hundreds of reported injuries – and many more that have gone unreported – related to overheating, explosions and fires resulting from e-cig exploding lithium-ion, there are currently no regulations or laws that apply to these highly problematic and potentially dangerous batteries. The Food and Drug Administration is still working on a set of guidelines.
Regulations can’t come soon enough as the e-cigarette industry has grown to epic proportions with millions of users worldwide, including increasing numbers of teen users, using the vaping devices under the mistaken assumption that e-cigarettes are a healthier and safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.
While the sleek looking devices look cool and are considered less dangerous than smoking cigarettes, the risk of explosions in addition to the risks of addiction and long term health problems from chemicals in the tobacco still pose serious health hazards to users.