Bad news to all vapers out there: here’s more proof that it may not be as safe as you’d like to think.
A man living in Florida died earlier this month after his Philippine-made vape pen exploded, lodging two pieces of the device in his cranium, a medical examiner reported on Wednesday.
The victim, 38-year-old Tallmadge D’Elia, was found dead in his apartment — which was in flames at that point — on May 5 when firefighters tried to rescue him. According to AFP, it was found that the fire was caused by the vape pen’s explosion.
Apart from the pieces lodged in his skull, D’Elia’s body was also about 80 percent covered in burns.
This is reportedly the first death caused by a vape explosion in the United States.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the exploding e-cigarette was by the brand Smok-E Mountain, a company based in Cebu City.
Smok-E Mountain’s Facebook page has since been taken down and a Google search of its physical store shows that it is “permanently closed.”
The reason for the explosion was not specified in the coroner’s report, but it was found that the device D’Elia used had a “mechanical mod,” which lacks the safety features and adjustable power settings more sophisticated e-cigarettes have.
“If the battery in a mechanical mod over-discharges and the device doesn’t contain enough air holes to allow the battery to vent, there is a risk of explosion,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, told AFP.
And Vape explosions aren’t uncommon either. The US’ Federal Emergency Management Agency recorded that there were 195 vape-related fires and explosions in the country from 2009 – 2016.
While there have been no reports of deaths caused by e-cigarette explosion in the Philipines, the government still warns against using it.
Vaping has become popular among those wanting a healthier alternative to cigarettes but the Department of Health said last year that using one still poses health risks because they contain at least 7,000 dangerous chemicals found in standard cigarettes.