A 17-year-old teen is recovering from a shattered jaw after a vape pen exploded in his mouth — causing several teeth to be knocked out and required his jaw to be wired shut for six weeks.
The incident occurred last year and was also documented in The New England Journal of Medicine not long after.
It continued to raise the concern regarding safety risks associated with battery-power vape pens and electronic cigarettes that can be prone to overheating.
Teen Austin Adams was using a vape pen by the company called VGOD in an attempt to quit smoking. He was taken to a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a blast injury to the lower jaw and burns around his lip according to one of the trauma surgeons that treated Adams, Katie Russell, shared.
Russell referred “increasing prevalence of vaping among adolescents” as a “public health concern.”
Adams had his gumline sewn back together as well as had temporary braces for his remaining teeth. In addition, he also had his jaw wired shut for six weeks but has since fully recovered from the injury. “His injuries were very severe,” Russell said to Business Insider via email. “It takes a lot of force to shatter a jaw.”
According to the US Fire Administration, US media have reported 195 incidents of explosion and fire involving electronic cigarette between January 2009 and December 2016, 133 of which resulted in acute injuries. And of those injuries, 38 were described as severe.
Russell shared how Adams was the first patient to be seen at the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City for this type of injury but added how it is “becoming a more common occurrence” and that the University of Utah’s adult trauma team has seen several additional patients.
Just two people have died from e-cigarette explosions in the past few years.
One was a 38-year-old man in St. Petersburg, Florida, who died in May of 2018 from a projectile wound to the head after an e-cigarette exploded. In February, a 24-year-old Texas man died after an e-cigarette exploded and cut an artery in his neck.
The Food and Drug Administration recently issued new guidlines that both e-cigarettes and vape pens can only be sold in stores that check identification at the door or have an age-restricted section for such products.
The agency also took action against retailers that illegally sold e-cigarette products to minors last September resulting in over 1,300 fines being issued.
The FDA also suggests using vape pens with safety features like ventilation holes and firing button locks, as well as warns against charging devices overnight.