Many e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers argue that the devices are safe to use, yet people continue to be severely burned by device explosions and fires in alarming numbers.
Dr. Kevin Foster, head of the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix, told TV 3’s KPHO/KTVK that the second- and third-degree burns that one Arizona teen recently suffered because of an exploding e-cigarette were not an isolated incident.
Seventeen-year-old Hailey Boyce was severely burned on her chest, side, and hands when her e-cigarette exploded and set her hair and clothes on fire. The explosion was so powerful that pieces of her e-cigarette were found a block away.
Dr. Foster told TV 3 that Arizona Burn Center has seen at least 15 burn patients he and other medical professionals have treated in the past three months burned by e-cigarettes.
“Unfortunately, we can’t really offer people a safe alternative, or a safe way of using these things,” Dr. Foster told TV 3. “We have no idea when they are going to go off, or what the injury will look like.”
Like many others who have been burned by e-cigarette malfunctions, Hailey said she hopes what happened to her will serve as a warning to others.
“I would hate for it to happen to somebody else,” she told TV 3. “I don’t want them to go through the unbelievable pain. It was really awful.”
Chris Tague, another Arizona resident who is recovering from second- and third-degree burns caused by an e-cigarette that exploded in his pocket “like a grenade,” also said e-cigarette should know the risks.
“Please be careful. I mean, they can do more damage than just burn your body. It can take your house, your car, and it could take your family,” Mr. Tague told KPHO/KTVK.
Mr. Tague and his wife, Patricia Baertich, were shopping earlier this month when the e-cigarette exploded.
“It burnt half my clothes off,” Mr. Tague told KPHO/KTVK.
Mr. Tague sustained severe burns to his legs and groin. “His whole private area, I mean this affects our whole life, his whole private area is burnt,” Ms. Baertich said.
“That’s where it hurts the most, right down below my waist. I can’t describe the pain of what I’m feeling right now. It’s constant. It doesn’t go away. It burns and burns and burns,” Mr. Tague told KPHO/KTVK.
Mr. Tague said the e-cigarette did not have any labels warning that the battery could explode. Unable to work because of his burns, he plans to consult with a lawyer.