E-cigarettes may seem like a valuable alternative to traditional cigarettes for many Californians who want to smoke without the destructive side effects. Because they are electronically vaporized, people are not inhaling any of the smoke which is so often blamed for causing cancer and heart disease, and for creating harmful secondhand smoke and pollution. However, e-cigarettes have caused an unsettling number of injuries when units unexpectedly ignite or explode.
Research shared by the Los Angeles Times suggested that e-cigarette batteries that are too hot can explode, leaving the user with extensive injuries. The most common wounds include flame burns, disfiguration, chemical burns, missing teeth, blast wounds and lost tissue. The most common wound sites are:
- 53 percent - groin or upper leg
- 33 percent - hands
- 20 percent - face
In January 2016, CBS News reported the story of a young man who sustained significant burns to his upper leg when an e-cigarette battery ignited and blew up. Further investigation revealed the explosion occurred when a battery for the device came into contact with the man's keys while both were inside his pocket. Witnesses at the man's work described how a part of the e-cigarette shot 15 feet away from the initial spot where it had exploded. The man suffered first and second-degree burns to his leg, which required medical treatment at a hospital.
Authorities recommend that e-cigarette users should not carry their devices on their body, and they should safely store unused batteries and avoid contact with metals like copper. They also suggest opting to replace old batteries through an authorized dealer instead of settling for discounted parts.