A vape pen exploded in a woman’s backpack while shopping in a Rite Aid drugstore—receiving 1st and 2nd degree burns to her body.
The woman was shopping New Year’s Eve in the Yucaipa, California store when the explosion set her bag and clothes on fire.
Battalion Chief Josh Janssen told KTLA a vape pen ignited the fire and exploded in the woman’s backpack.
“We received multiple reports of a female on fire in a local Rite Aid,” he said.”While responding to the incident, we received updated information that the fire was caused by a vape pen that had exploded inside the female’s backpack.”
The battalion chief said emergency crews found the woman with severe burn marks on her back, covering 20 percent of her body. She is recovering in a burn unit.
There have been similar incidents of injuries from vape explosions—including one death.
Teen Using Vape Explodes, Destroying Jaw
On June 20, 2019, a vape pen exploded in a 17-year-old boy’s face—breaking his jaw, requiring multiple surgeries.
Pediatric surgeon Dr. Katie Russel from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City told WebMD, “he was [using] this vape pen, and it blew up in his face while he was [using] it. He broke his lower jaw, which takes a large amount of force.”
“His jaw was wired shut for about six weeks. He could only eat soft food for six weeks until it healed, and then he had to come back and have another operation to get those wires removed,” Dr. Russel said.
The boy has fully recovered but the lasting impact (pun not intended) has forever scarred him.
Vape Pen Explosions Are More Common Than You May think
Vape pens cause more than health problems; that’s because pen explosions are more common than you might think.
According to the health organization, Tobacco Control, vape pen explosions caused more than 2,000 vape pen emergencies in the U.S. between 2015 and 2017.
How do vape pens explode?
It’s still not clear what causes e-cigarettes or vapes to explode, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, “evidence suggests that battery-related issues may lead to vape explosions”.
In a recent study from FEMA, the use of lithium-ion batteries in e-cigarettes pose an explosion hazard for consumers.
And while lithium-ion batteries have a low failure rate, the intimate contact between the body and the battery can be severe and life-altering.
Here’s What You Can do to Avoid “Vape” Battery Explosions
In June 2019, the FDA completed a set of safety guidelines manufacturers need to follow in order to bring tobacco products to the market.
Companies will need to provide detailed info about the types of batteries manufactures will use and safety precautions to avoid injuries.
The FDA suggests a few ways to prevent vape pen explosions, over-heating or catching fire:
- Consider using vape devices with safety features
- Keep loose batteries in a case to prevent contact with metal objects
- Never charge your vape device with a phone or tablet charger.
- Don’t charge your vape device overnight
- Replace the batteries if they get damaged or wet.
Extra Safety Precautions
- Make sure you read and understand the manufacturer’s recommendations for the use and care of your device. If your vape did not come with instructions or you have further questions, contact the manufacturer.
- Don’t remove or disable safety features—like fire button locks or vent holes—that are designed to prevent battery overheating and explosions.
- Only use batteries recommended for your device. Don’t mix different brands of batteries, use batteries with different charge levels, or use old and new batteries together.
- Charge your vape on a clean, flat surface, away from anything that can easily catch fire and someplace you can clearly see it—not a couch or pillow where it is more prone to overheat or get turned on accidentally.
- Protect your vape from extreme temperatures by not leaving it in direct sunlight or in your car on a freezing cold night.