E-cigarettes aren’t exactly the healthy alternatives to cigarettes that marketing hype suggests. Among the most popular in the e-cig space is a model called Juul. While manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes can help people break addictions to harmful tobacco products, CDC has expressed concerns about the safety of Juul and similar products. Specifically, CDC has said that e-cigarettes aren’t safe for kids, teenagers, and young adults, noting that most e-cigs contain a highly addictive and potentially harmful substance called nicotine. Kids hooked on e-cigs are more likely to smoke regular cigarettes later in life, CDC says.
But we’ve recently been alerted to another danger related to e-cigarette use. A 17-year-old featured in a new case report was harmed by an e-cigarette—not because of its addictive properties but because it exploded in his mouth.
That’s right: While he was using his e-cig, it exploded. He went to the emergency room two hours later, reporting swellingand pain in his jaw. Among other things, his chin was punctured, he had “extensive lacerations,” and he had a fractured, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
His treatment included having his jaw re-set, dental extraction, and debridement (removal) of weak tissue. The patient healed well, but the authors of the new report warn that e-cigarettes need to be used with caution.
“The increasing prevalence of vaping among adolescents is a public health concern,” the report says.
The FDA has provided some tips for avoiding an e-cigarette explosion. For starters, don’t charge your device overnight. Replace the device’s battery if it gets wet or damaged. Don’t charge your device with a phone charger, and only use batteries that e-cigarette manufacturers recommend for their devices. Lastly, don’t expose your e-cigarette to extreme temperatures. That means keeping it out of direct sunlight in the summer.