A Denver, Colo., man who suffered severe burn injuries when his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket advises other e-cig users to be extremely careful with the devices or not use them at all.
Gregory Ingram told Denver7 that he was on his way to work the day after Christmas when the incident happened.
“My pants caught on fire and the flames shot out and got my thumb, and then I went to try to pat that out and then my whole pocket just erupted,” Mr. Ingram told Denver7. He said the device blew up without any warning, and there were no other items in his pocket at the time.
Like so many other people who have been burned by exploding e-cigarettes, which are powered by powerful lithium-ion batteries, Mr. Ingram suffered second- and third-degree burns on his upper leg and thigh. He also sustained burns on his hand from trying to remove the flaming device from his pocket.
E-cigarettes can explode and cause injury anywhere, anytime. But burns on the upper leg and hand have become the most commonly reported injury associated with exploding e-cigs, especially with men, who tend to stow the device in their front pocket as opposed to a purse. Burn injuries and lacerations to the face from e-cigarette blasts are less common but have been treated in hospitals around the country.
Mr. Ingram, a father of two young children, said that his injuries forced him to spend the week after Christmas in the hospital instead of enjoying that time with his kids setting up a new aquarium and playing with toys.
Burn care specialists say the number of burn injuries from e-cigarettes and similar devices is growing at an alarming rate. The University of Colorado Hospital’s Burn Intensive Care Unit, where Mr. Ingram was admitted, treated 15 e-cigarette burn injury patients in 2016. In 2015, the same hospital treated just two people for those injuries, and none in 2014.
Dr. Arek Wiktor, the burn and trauma surgeon who treated Mr. Ingram, expressed his concerns about e-cigarette hazards to Denver7.
“A lot of people have turned to e-cigarettes as perhaps a safer method of smoking, but cigarettes don’t explode in your pocket, so it actually turns out to be not a safer method of smoking, and we still don’t know the effects on the lungs,” he said.