10/22/2016 12:00:00 AM
Burns surgeons warn of danger of exploding e-cigarettes
Burns surgeons have issued a fresh warning on the dangers of electronic cigarettes, after a rise in smokers injured by them exploding. Doctors at the Morriston Hospital’s Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery in Swansea said the type of injuries were unprecedented.
‘The tip of the iceberg’
“Before this year we hadn’t seen any injuries like this” Dai Nguyen Plastic surgeons at the hospital treated five people for serious burns so far this year, including a 25-year-old who was paintballing. “This reflects the rising popularity of these e-cigarettes,” said Dr Nguyen. “It’s not just us, this is something that is starting to be highlighted nationwide. I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.” “I suspect a lot of departments may also be dealing with these incidents and we’re just not aware of them.” Surgeons at the hospital were so concerned by the injuries they have spoken to trading standards officers, as well as writing a paper calling for tougher regulation on imports.
‘You don’t think it will happen to you’
“He had full thickness burns on his left hand and soot was deeply embedded. It singed his lips and tongue” Sally Smith Stories of exploding batteries in the smoking devices have become increasing common worldwide. Sally Smith, from Colorado, told of the “frightening” moment her son’s electronic cigarette exploded. “He had it in his hand and was just starting to bring it his mouth. We heard a loud explosion and he came in with full thickness burns on his left hand and soot deeply embedded. “Fortunately he hadn’t had it in his mouth, but it still singed his lips and tongue. We had to take him to hospital immediately. It was very frightening.” While her son has since made a full recovery, she has urged people to be aware of the dangers of vaping. “No matter what I say to people about my son, people never think it could happen to them.”
‘As if you were shot in the face with a gun’
Dr Nguyen is also calling for more guidance for consumers in the UK, saying the injuries caused can be extremely severe. “I am aware of other cases which have required surgery and skin grafts,” she added. “There have also been reports of e-cigarettes exploding in people’s mouths which resulted in catastrophic injuries similar to those you would experience if you were shot in the face by a gun.”