It was confirmed by an autopsy that a vape pen was is the cause of the tragic death of a man from Florida on the 5th of May. The incident is the first confirmed case in which an explosion of an e-cigarette resulted in a death. The man, who is 38 years old was killed after his vape pen exploded, which sent projectiles into his head, and sparked a small fire in his home that was located in St. Petersburg, Florida.
According to the report from the Tampa Bay Times, Tallmadge D’Elia was discovered on May 5 in a bedroom of his family’s home. The autopsy said that the cause of death as “projectile wound of the head” — when the vape pen exploded, at least a pair of shrapnel struck him in there. Moreover, the victim experienced burns on around 80 percent of his body.
While there have been already at least 195 incidents in which a vape pen or e-cigarette caught fire or exploded between 2009 and 2016, no deaths were reported during that time period. However, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that the incidents did end in 133 injuries, 38 of which were reported to be severe. Generally, the explosions are sudden, “and are accompanied by loud noise, a flash of light, smoke, flames, and often vigorous ejection of the battery and other parts.” The majority of the incidents also sparked fires on or in nearby objects.
As with the other exploding pieces of technology (such as hoverboards or smartphones), it would seem that the problem is connected to lithium-ion batteries.
The report of the Fire Administration notes: “No other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in such close proximity to the human body.
“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. While the failure rate of the lithium-ion batteries is very small, the consequences of a failure, as we have seen, can be severe and life-altering for the consumer.”
In the aftermath of the tragedy in Florida, there may finally be some regulations that will be placed around the batteries of e-cigarettes. As it stands, none already exists, even though the Food and Drug Administration is said to be considering to impose some already. In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a few safety recommendations when it comes to vape pens and e-cigarettes. The agency warns users from carrying e-cig batteries lose in their pockets, “especially where they might come into contact with coins, keys or other metal objects which can cause the battery to short out.”
You should also avoid making use of your tablet charger or phone to recharge your device. You should only use the charger that was intended for the e-cigarette. Also, you should not charge your vape while you are sleeping or leave it unattended, and should always charge the device on a flat surface away from anything flammable. If batteries get wet or are damaged, replace them, and do not mix and match different battery brands or old and new sources f power. Finally, avoid altering the device, and do not leave it in very hot temperatures, such as in a freezing car overnight or in direct sunlight.