May 20, 2022 – A study finds that over a 4-year period, 15 teens were injured by exploding e-cigarettes, according to surgeons who treated young people at nine hospitals in the United States.
“It was definitely an injury that we saw often,” Shannon Acker, MD, an assistant professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said in a statement.
In the Journal of Surgical Research, doctors report details of injuries from e-cigarette explosions from January 2016 to December 2019. Ten teens were hospitalized, including three who were admitted to intensive care units.
“When we think about e-cigarettes, vaping, and the problems of marketing cigarettes to teens, it mostly has to do with addiction and lung damage,” said Acker, a co-author of the new study. “Whereas, as trauma surgeons, we saw these other traumatic injuries.”
Six of the teens had burns to the face, five of them lost several teeth, five had burns around the thighs and groin, four burned their hands and four burned their eyes. A teenager injured their radial nerve, which runs through the arm. Another cut their faces and one broke their jaw.
A total of six teens required surgery, including one requiring multiple surgeries for a serious hand injury.
Three of the teens had never used e-cigarettes before the day they were injured.
Vaping has become much more common among American teens in recent years than smoking traditional cigarettes. More than 2 million of them currently use e-cigarettes, including more than 11% of high school students and nearly 3% of high school students, according to the FDA.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which, according to the CDC, is highly addictive and can impair healthy brain development in adolescents. Other chemicals and flavorings in the liquids heated during vaping can also damage the lungs. Fires and explosions, while rare, are also a risk previously documented by the FDA, the CDC, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Nationwide, there were 195 reported explosions and fires involving e-cigarettes of all ages between 2009 and 2016, according to a FEMA report. Although no deaths were reported, 29% of these cases involved serious injuries.
“The shape and construction of electronic cigarettes” allow them to behave like “flaming rockets when a battery fails,” according to FEMA.
Vaping devices typically use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that vaporizes the liquid nicotine solution, Acker says.
“They are not highly regulated and the batteries may be of inferior quality and prone to explosion.”
This post Exploding e-cigarettes cause traumatic injury to teens
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