For a product that is touted as a safer alternative to smoking real cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vape pens are proving to be increasingly more dangerous than the industry has claimed. The dangers of “vaping,” or using e-cigarettes are nothing new, but now there is a report that a man died after his vape pen exploded.
Florida Man Dies After Vape Pen Explosion
One 38-year old Florida man met an untimely death when his vape pen exploded in May of 2018. The exploding pen sent projectiles into his head and caused a small fire in his home. He was found by relatives in a burning bedroom in his family’s home in St. Petersburg, Florida. The pen had exploded into pieces and at least two of them went into his head. The man also had burns over 80 percent of his body.
The cause of death was marked as a “projectile wound to his head.” The pen he was using was a “mod” style pen, which is distributed by Smok-e Mountain and manufactured in the Philippians.
U.S. Fire Administration Report
While this death is a tragedy, and one of the first reported from e-cigarette use, the concept of vape pens exploding is not new. The U.S. Fire Administration has reported that at least 195 incidents occurred in which an electronic cigarette exploded or caught fire from 2009-2016. These incidents resulted in 133 injuries, 38 of which were severe.
This report blamed the prevalence of incidents on the lithium-ion batteries being placed so close to the human body. This creates a situation where the consequence of failure can be severe and life-threatening due to the location of the battery in relation to the person using the product.
E-cigarette explosions usually occur suddenly, with little or no time to get to safety. There may be a loud noise and flash of light, smoke, flames, and vigorous ejections of the battery or other parts of the pen.
FDA Safety Recommendations
Currently, there are no regulations that apply to the safety of e-cigarettes, though the FDA is carefully considering them. However, as a consumer who may use these products, or know someone who does, it is very important that you follow all safety precautions associated with the use of these pens.
Do not let loose e-cigarette batteries come in contact with coins, keys, or other metal objects
Do not charge your e-cigarette with a phone charger.
Do not leave it charging unattended or overnight.
Do not mix and match different brands, or new and old batteries.
Do not disable safety features.
Keep your pen safe from extreme temperatures.
Do not store it on surfaces that are flammable.
Replace your batteries if they become damaged or wet.
The safety, or lack thereof, of e-cigarettes, is still highly contested. Many argue that more evidence needs to be gathered. Current meta-analysis is inconclusive as to whether these devices actually help to stop smoking and if the cartridge liquid is any safer than traditional tobacco.
If a device such as a vape pen, or e-cigarette has injured you, or someone you know, consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. If there is negligence on the part of the manufacturer, you may have a personal injury claim. Your attorney can help you decide a course of action.
Gebelhoff, R. (2017, February 15). Opinion | The great mystery of e-cigarettes. Retrieved from https://washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2017/02/15/the-great-mystery-of-e-cigarettes/?utm_term=.d48d339ec669
Rosenberg, E. (2018, May 17). Exploding vape pen caused Florida man’s death, autopsy says. Retrieved from https://washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/05/16/man-died-after-a-vape-pen-exploded-and-embedded-pieces-into-this-head-autopsy-says/?utm_term=.214aaf036a2
Products, C. F. (n.d.). Products, Ingredients & Components – Tips to Help Avoid. Retrieved from https://fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ProductsIngredientsComponents/ucm539362.htm#blue