Shonkwiler told NBC News he’d taken the battery out of the device and had it in his pocket with some coins. That could have resulted in a short. He said the package didn’t warn about the hazard, and he never realized the risk.
Despite the potential for danger, e-cigarettes are currently an unregulated product, so we don’t know how many injuries they’ve caused.
The only statistic available is from a 17-month old report from the U.S. Fire Administration that found 25 e-cigarette injuries between 2009 and 2014. The report noted that the shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like “flaming rockets” when a battery fails.The Fire Administration estimated that more than two-and-a-half million Americans used e-cigs in 2014, a practice known as vaping. The industry says the number of people who have switched from smoking to vaping has grown dramatically in the last two years. So have the mishaps.
“We initially thought this was a rare event, but this is increasing in frequency,” said Dr. Elisha Brownson, a trauma and burn critical-care fellow at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The burn unit at Harborview is now treating one e-cig-related injury a month, five since October.
“We’re seeing significant tissue injury as well as damage to the mouth or the hands and the tendons,” Dr.Brownson said. “It basically combines a flame burn and a tissue blast injury.”u2022eney7485yyWEEEEDD