A 17-year-old had to go to the emergency room after a vape pen exploded in his face

Vaping, or using electronic cigarettes, has been increasing dramatically in recent years, particularly teenagers.

However, in addition to many of the typical health concerns associated with consuming tobacco and nicotine products, vape pens and e-cigarettes carry one additional noteworthy health risk: they can explode in their user’s face.

In fact, a recently released article in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals one case where a 17-year-old boy had to go to the emergency room due to pain and swelling in his jaw after the vape pen he was using exploded.


The Journal report states that “He had a circular puncture to the chin, extensive lacerations in his mouth.

Dr. Katie Russell, co-author of the report and one of the trauma surgeons at Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah who helped treat the patient, told NBC News that the teenager in question “had a blast injury to his lower jaw, as well as burns around his lip.”

“His injury was fairly extensive where he had lost several teeth. There was not really much tissue along his gum line where the teeth sit either,” Dr. Jonathan Skirko, another surgeon who treated the teenager, told The New York Daily News.

Photo courtesy of the New England Journal of Medicine

The Journal did state that the boy appeared to be recovering well at his follow-up assessment. Furthermore, NBC News’ report states that he has even since quit smoking.

Vaping and e-cigarette use has become incredibly popular in recent years, particularly with teenagers.

According to the FDA, over 3 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018. According to the CDC, while e-cigarettes contain lower amounts of harmful chemicals than traditional cigarettes, the nicotine in e-cigarettes is still quite harmful to adolescents.

And vape pen and e-cigarette explosions, believed to be the result of battery issues, have become an increasingly prominent public health concern. A report from the U.S. Fire Administration called e-cigarettes with lithium ion batteries a “new and unique hazard.”


Earlier this year, a 24-year-old Texas man died from injuries he suffered when his e-cigarette exploded. Furthermore, a study from last year estimated that from 2015 to 2017, there were over 2,000 cases of e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms.

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