Despite being a supposedly less harmful alternative to smoking, vaping still comes with risks. For example, studies have shown that some chemicals found in e-liquid flavorings could lead to heart damage. There are, however, more immediate risks that could literally blow up in your face, as a 19-year-old man recently found out when his vape exploded.
Detailed in a recent case study in BMJ Case Reports, the man’s brother heard a loud noise from another room. Checking out the unusual sound, he found his brother in a bad condition, suffering significant injuries to his mouth and burns on his face, as well as signs of inhalation injury. “How I felt, after waking up from what happened, I did not feel the same, almost did not feel real,” commented the patient.
The explosion was due to the e-cigarette’s malfunctioning lithium-ion battery. These have led to vape explosions in the past. In 2018, one man died in Florida after his e-cigarette – using a mechanical mod – exploded. Fragments of the device had pierced his skull, and 80 percent of his body had been burned. There have been incidents of this kind captured on camera, with news reports showing a man’s pocket bursting dramatically into flames.
After a CT scan, the 19-year-old man was transferred to a regional Major Trauma Centre. The CT scan revealed the extent of his injuries, with damage to his teeth and jaw. The report states that the injury was “isolated to the upper jaw, but with obliteration of the alveolar bone in the left anterior maxilla and shattering of the upper left central and lateral incisors and decoronation of the upper left canine and first premolar with associated root fractures.” He had also suffered burns and lacerations to his gums and mouth.
He was then transferred to an intensive care unit. The next day, four of his teeth had to be removed and his wounds were debrided. The day after the surgery he was discharged with antibiotics, and it was suggested that he should eat a soft diet.
The patient reported having suffered mental as well as physical trauma. “The pain was horrifying and almost like a nightmare; as soon I was told I could leave and make my way home, after coming into the house where it happened, it was very daunting, a flush of a sick feeling overcame me,” he said in the report.