Attempting to use a vape pen lead to a 24-year-old Texas man’s death, according to reports.
According to a coroner’s report obtained by Time magazine, the device exploded in the face of William Brown of Fort Worth last month, severing his carotid artery and causing a stroke. The cause of death, the outlet reported, was a “cerebral infarction,” which obstructs blood and oxygen from flowing to the brain, and “herniation,” which produces pressure and moves brain tissue, according Medline Plus.
The accident happened on Jan. 27, and Brown died two days later, local affiliate CBS DFW reported. At the time, he was standing in the parking lot of a vape shop after asking for help in the store with his Mechanical Mod pen, which, the manager told the outlet, he didn’t stock because they’re known to be faulty.
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The manager later called the ambulance when he saw Brown struggling outside. Brown was taken to a nearby patient care pavilion, where he was put in a medically induced coma, according to Time.
Brown’s grandmother, Alice, told CBS DFW that a piece of the device was lodged in his throat. She said that investigators told her the problem with the e-cigarette was its battery.
This is hardly the first time an e-cigarette user has suffered serious injuries because of a device malfunction.
A North Carolina father was severely burned after a pair of e-cigarette batteries caught fire in his pants pocket after coming in contact with loose change.
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“It just exploded,” the man, Kevin King, told Today‘s Jeff Rossen in June 2018. “One minute you’re pulling up in your driveway and the next minute your pants are like crazy on fire.”
King said he jumped out of the car, then the second battery exploded.
“It just, like, burst into flames,” he said. “It just burned right through my pants. The other one explodes, shrapnel in my face and everything, hits me right in the eye.
King suffered burns to his legs so severe that he needed a skin graft, according to Today. And doctors said that had the shrapnel landed an inch closer to King’s eye, he could have lost his vision.
A July 2017 report from the U.S. Fire Administration states that most e-cigarette and battery explosions occur in the person’s pocket. Although most of these explosions are “self- or easily-extinguished,” victims can suffer severe burns on their hands, faces and legs, according to the report.
“It’s literally an explosion, a super-hot explosion,” Dr. Anne Wagner, of the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) Burn Center, told NBC News in 2016. “We’re seeing deep, third-degree burns and almost all of them require skin grafts and these grafts leave a significant scar.”
The Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly warned about the dangers of e-cigarettes in the past, especially because of high rates of teen use.
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In November 2018, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement outlining the agency’s commitment to “taking the necessary steps to fully confront the epidemic of e-cigarette use that has gripped the nation’s youth and set in motion an accelerating epidemic.”
Scientific evidence showing that e-cigarettes leave harmful toxins in the body is growing. A study published in the journal Pediatrics looked at the effects of e-cigarettes on teens’ bodies.
“We found a lot of the same chemicals in the urine of these teenagers that we see in cigarettes. Much lower levels than we see in traditional cigarettes, but higher than what we expect to find from just environmental exposures,” Dr. Martin Rubinstein, the lead author of the study and a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, told Today in November 2018. “The five main chemicals that we found are either shown to be cancer-causing, or thought to be cancer-causing, either in humans or animals.”
Rubinstein said they don’t yet know the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, but researchers are not optimistic.
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