Electronic cigarettes are actually the new rage these days, as the grim fates of chain smokers make traditional drags actually increasingly very unpopular. But as researchers continue to look into whether the electronic cigarette presents the same potential risks as its predecessor, it would now seem there is another horrifying hazard e-cigs pose that cigarettes never actually did: explosions.
A teen in Alberta, Canada had actually suffered second degree burns and even broken teeth just after his e-cigarette spontaneously exploded that was just inches from his mouth while he was using it in his own car.
The victim, by the name of Ty Greer, 16, was using the device in a car when the e-cigarette actually exploded.
“It lit my kid’s face on fire, busted two teeth out,” Perry Greer, Ty’s father, said to the Canadian Press. “It burned the back of his throat, burned his tongue very badly. If he wasn’t wearing glasses, he possibly could have lost his eyes. … He wanted to die. That is how much pain he was in.”
Greer said the family had then raced Ty to the hospital. He remembers hugging his son as he himself squirmed in great agony waiting for a dose of morphine to kick in.
The defective vape was a Wotofo Phantom, which is basically produced in China. Online reviews of the product on the marketplace Eciggity were mostly positive with no indication of such dangerous defects that could have been really fatal.
In a statement to Mic by the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, the industry has shot back at the implication that e-cigarettes are actually dangerous.
“Electronic cigarettes and vapor products are electronic devices and do not combust. They should be thought the same as other rechargeable electrical equipment such as laptops and cell phones, in terms of being battery powered,” the statement read. “We cannot speak to user error or on behalf of a manufacturer for their device. If there is truly an issue with a specific device, similar to a laptop or cell phone manufacturer, inquiries should be directed toward the individual company.”
Yet Ty Greer is not the first to fall victim to such a dangerous life threatening disaster. In November, a Colorado Springs man suffered a broken neck when an e-cigarette just exploded in his face. And earlier this month, an Orange County, California, teen too suffered burns after an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket. Just think!
Ty’s brother Zane said the incident has brought him and his brother really closer.
“The whole situation has given me a new perspective on how I feel about my brother,” said Zane. “I was so close to losing him.”
Perry described Ty as a very talented hockey player who has never smoked tobacco before. He said his son had actually purchased the e-cigarette from a store in north Lethbridge. The owner of the store declined to comment that,
“I have talked with the owner of the store,” said Perry. “He’s very remorseful. He cried the whole time I talked to him.”
Ty now faces a series of expensive dental surgeries as he prepares for a long recovery.
In October 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency officially acknowledged the phenomenon, and then published a study investigating the entire matter.
“Media reports of 25 separate incidents in the U.S. dating from 2009 to the present were found during an internet search,” FEMA wrote in the report, which indicated that the explosions were often linked to the device’s lithium battery overheating that is pretty much dangerous. “The event occurs suddenly and is accompanied by a loud noise, a flash of light, smoke, flames and often vigorous ejection of the battery and other parts.”
The manufacturer and the subsequent Canadian distributor were not immediately available for comment at all.
Greer said that the government should not allow minors to buy such dangerous devices.
“I would like to see these unregulated ones possibly banned,” Greer said. “It is horrific to see your kid with his face so burnt.”
According to the Non-Smokers Rights Association, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only provinces that have not banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. The decision is left to municipalities in Alberta.
Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the province has formed a working group with the federal government and is now looking at regulating electronic cigarettes.
Les Hagen of the Edmonton-based charity Action on Smoking and Health said what had happened to Ty Greer is another big reason why electronic cigarettes need to be regulated federally and also provincially.
“We absolutely need product standards. For instance, they shouldn’t explode in your mouth,” Hagen said.
“The other element with this particular incident is this product was sold to a minor, to a 16-year-old. We would like to see a ban on the sale of these products to minors, just like we have with cigarettes.”
The Federal Standing Committee on Health last March had issued a report that actually suggests funding independent research into the several health effects of electronic cigarettes and the increasing need to regulate them very carefully.