SEATTLE – There’s growing concern that e-cigarettes could explode while people are using them. Harborview Medical Center has seen a series of patients burned by e-cigarettes.
Five people have been hospitalized there since October with injuries ranging from burns so severe that people have lost function in their hands to explosions so powerful, that in at least one case, a man lost eight teeth and had to have four more removed.
Doctors told KIRO 7 News they do not differentiate vaping and e-cigarette devices when people come in for injuries. The devices both take batteries. The problem, with exploding, seems to be primarily with charging and incompatible batteries. All of the people who were hospitalized at Harborview since October are in their early 20s.
One of them, who was injured this month, was burned while handling an e-cigarette in the shop where he works.
E-cigarette use, especially among teenagers, is on the rise.
Between 2013 and 2014, the number of teens “vaping” nearly tripled to 13 percent. In fall of 2014 a massive house fire in Tacoma was the result of the first e-cigarette-sparked explosion in the state, according to the fire marshal.
Back then, Ray Story with the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association said that the industry needs regulation.
“I’m working very closely with regulatory bodies and the FDA to build parameters to make sure that we even have the ability to recall products that are not up to speed,” said Story.
Most e-cigarettes are not regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration, but new rules are being considered.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of an e-cigarette explosion causing serious injuries, please contact us for a free consultation at 1-800-291-1821 or 206-592-9000.