Man Loses Teeth to E-Cig Blast, Publicizing an Explosive Problem
Andrew Hall's e-cigarette explosion, which resulted in gruesome burns and other injuries, has highlighted concern over the safety of electronic cigarettes.
While getting ready for work on Saturday morning, Andrew Hall of Pocatello, Idaho, experienced quite a shock when he said his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth.
According to Hall's Facebook post, the explosion resulted in second degree burns on his face and neck, knocked out seven of his teeth, and left chunks of plastic, foreign objects and bits of his own teeth lodged around his mouth, throat and lips.
Hall's post has been shared over 402,000 times and highlights the growing concern around e-cigarette explosions.
Since e-cigs were first introduced to the market in 2007, there have been several reports of them combusting. In the most gruesome incidents the device has exploded when the person is smoking it, like in Hall's case, but they've also exploded while charging or simply sitting in storage.
In March of 2016, 19-year-old Alexander Shonkwiler's e-cig reportedly exploded in his pocket, burning his upper thigh.
"I heard what sounded almost like a sparkler going off, and then bang, a huge explosion, a huge flash of light and these flames were coming at my face," Shonkwiler told NBC News. "As I looked down, my leg was on fire. I ripped my pants off, and even with my pants off, my leg was still on fire because the battery acid sprayed all over my leg and dripped down my leg."
Because e-cigarettes were an unregulated product until recently, there are few statistics on the exact number of explosions they've caused. One FEMA report found 25 incidents of e-cig explosions from 2009-2014, a relatively small number given the more than 2.5 million people who use e-cigarettes.
However, the results of these explosions are shocking enough to warrant concern, and have left many wondering what causes them.
According to FEMA, the incidents occur most often when the battery is charging, and importantly, USB chargers come in different standards, and use various ports and connectors, according to the report, "which further illustrates the need to follow the manufacturers' guidance when charging a device."
Another risk factor for an e-cig explosion comes from their lithium batteries. Lithium batteries carry a large amount of energy in a very small space. While lithium batteries are used for many electronics - like phones, cameras and laptops - in an e-cig the battery is next to a heating device which can increase the risk of explosion.
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