In Mid-May, officials revealed what is believed to be one of the first deaths caused by an exploding e-cigarette. According to coroners and fire investigators, the 38-year-old man was killed when his vape pen exploded, sending projectiles into his brain. He was likely killed instantly, then his body was badly burned during the ensuing fire.
This event hopefully makes it clear that vaping explosions and injuries may be uncommon, but they aren’t rare. People should consider not vaping, or, at least, using caution with certain types of e-cigarettes, known as mechanical mods, that seem to be more dangerous.
How Common Are E-Cigarette Explosions?
The truth is that we don’t know how often e-cigarettes explode or catch fire, leading to serious injuries. One of the most comprehensive sources is this list of e-cigarette explosions, compiled from news sources. However, as vaping explosions become more common, they become less newsworthy, which means that they are less likely to be reported. This has undoubtedly decreased the reliability of this list in recent years.
Perhaps the best estimate of how frequently these explosions occur comes from a study by the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), which collected all e-cigarette injuries that came into their clinic over a 9-month period. They had 15 injuries, which, if extrapolated to the the population of the US, means perhaps 15,000 injuries a year nationwide, including more than 200 each year in the Tulsa area. Of course, the estimates are uncertain because the UWMC serves a population that is highly likely to use e-cigarettes. It’s likely that the US estimate is high, but it’s probably true that news accounts tell us only a fraction of the injuries.
Restoring Your Smile after E-Cigarette Injuries
About a quarter of all e-cigarette injuries include blast injuries. Surprisingly, though, the face only accounted for about 20% of all vaping injuries, according to the UWMC study. However, when facial blast injuries do occur, the teeth usually suffer. Tooth loss is relatively common in these injuries, as well as chipping and cracking. Often, teeth may survive the initial blast, but may need to be extracted after the fact.
If you suffer these types of injuries, your smile can be made whole again. For chipped teeth, we can use veneers or dental crowns. But if you’ve lost teeth, dental implants are recommended. These tooth replacements look and function just like natural teeth, and they’re especially good for people who feel they are too young for dentures.