"Like A Nightmare"

Vape Explodes, Knocking Out Man’s Teeth

"The pain was horrifying and almost like a nightmare..."

Feb 3 / Dan Robitzski
Victor Tangermann
Image by Victor Tangermann

A man’s e-cigarette exploded in his mouth, shattering several of his teeth and sending him to the hospital.

Doctors at Queen’s Medical Centre at Nottingham University Hospital held the 19-year-old man at the intensive are unit for about a day before sending him home, according to MEDizzy. But the patient left with several fewer teeth than he came in with, as the shattered bone was deemed irreparable.

Thankfully, a CT scan looking for head trauma and other broken bones revealed that the worst of the injury was limited to the patient’s jaw, according to a case report published last week in the journal BMJ Case Reports, though he did have several burns and cuts in and around his mouth as well.

“[e-cigarette] explosions… have caused mostly flame burns, contact burns, chemical burns and blast injuries, with damage to hands, thigh, groin area and genitals’ soft tissue and/or bony injuries,” the case report reads, “as the e-cigarette often explodes while in the patient’s hand or pocket.”

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However, there have been other reports of vapes exploding inside people’s mouths, which have caused broken bones, serious burns, and occasionally death.

“How I felt, after waking up from what happened, I did not feel the same, almost did not feel real,” the patient reported. “The pain was horrifying and almost like a nightmare; as soon I was told I could leave and make my way home, after coming into the house where it happened, it was very daunting, a flush of a sick feeling overcame me.”

Unfortunately, the explosions are tied to inherent problems with lithium-ion batteries, the doctors concluded, so it’s not clear whether a safer alternative vape might emerge. But they call for urgent safety measures, like design changes and emergency power cut-offs that might help prevent future blasts.

“Although rare, e-cigarette explosions are a growing concern due to the increased popularity of these devices and the devastating injuries that they can cause,” reads the report.

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