A 24-year-old Texas man died after his e-cigarette exploded in his face, severing his carotid artery and leading to a massive stroke.
William Brown, the deceased, went to run some errands on a chilly Texas evening on the 27th of January, 2019, making a stop at a vape store in Fort Worth. He stopped in to the vape store to ask for assistance in using his vaporizer pen. However, the shopkeeper told him he couldn’t help him as they didn’t keep that particular brand of e-cigarettes in their store.
Brown then went back to his car and attempted to use his vape pen by himself while sitting in his grandmother’s light blue Lincoln town car stationed in the parking lot in front of the vape store. As fate would have it, the pen blew up, sending shards of metal into Brown’s face and neck. He thrashed and fell out of the car, collapsing on the ground.
Unfortunately, Brown, just a few weeks shy of his 25th birthday, breathed his last on the 29th of January, 2019 after being held at the local hospital for two days.
Doctors found pieces of metal from the electronic cigarette in his throat. The cause of death was cited as ‘penetrating trauma from exploding vaporizer pen’ by the hospital authorities, a precious young life lost to a faulty, malfunctioning electronic cigarette.
As shocking as this incident is, unfortunately it is not the only one. Just last year a 38-year old Florida man was also killed by an exploding e-cig.
And, in fact, according to a study published in Tobacco Control, there were more than 2,000 vape pen explosions and electronic cigarette related burn injuries in the United States from 2015 to 2017. The study included only incidents that resulted in an emergency room visit.
A report prepared for FEMA by the U.S. Fire Administration blamed injuries and fires on the presence of lithium-ion batteries found in e-cigarettes. Lithium-ion batteries are also found in cell phones, laptops and other frequently used consumer electronics and they have been known to cause fires when used in these other devices as well. However, as the U.S. Fire Administration report stated, “It is this intimate contact between the body and the battery that is most responsible for the severity of the injuries that have been seen.” In other words, you don’t usually put your laptop computer in your mouth.
These statistics are scary but it is good to keep things in perspective. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes kill more that 480,000 people in the United States EVERY YEAR. Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable death and, on average, “smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.” While the two deaths noted above are shocking and horrific, they are the only two deaths attributed to vaping since it’s rise to popularity over the last decade. During that same period, cigarettes killed nearly 5 million in the U.S. alone. Clearly, the benefits of switching to e-cigarettes far, far outweigh the risks when you look at these numbers.
The evidence also clearly shows that most of the unfortunate injuries caused by electronic cigarettes were due to a short list of preventable issues. Keep an eye out for our upcoming article showing you exactly what to do and what not to do to drastically reduce your already statistically small chance of experiencing a lithium-ion battery meltdown.
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