Exploding vape pen caused Florida man's death, autopsy says

Florida Records First Death Due to An E-Cigarette Vape Pen Explodes in Smoker’s Face Killing Him

An autopsy has confirmed that a man died after his e-cigarette exploded, penetrated his brain and left him with burns to 80 per cent of his body. The autopsy results from the medical examiner of Pinellas County reveal that his e-cigarette made a "projectile wound" in his skull as well as started the fire.

Tallmadge D'Elia was found May 5 in the burning bedroom of his family's home in St. Petersburg, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The manner of death is reported as an accident.

The Smok-E Mountain Mech Works vaping device, which is made in The Philippines, is an unregulated mechanical e-cigarette.

A U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) report, released in 2017 and covering the periods 2009-2016, attributed catastrophic injuries from e-cigarette explosions to a product design problem, i.e., using cylindrical lithium-ion batteries in cylindrical tubes.

A representative from Smok-E Mountain told ABC affiliate WFTS that it believed the problem was related to the device's atomizer or battery, and not the device itself.

A map showing which countries have placed a ban on e-cigarettes
A map showing which countries have placed a ban on e-cigarettes

Across the United Kingdom, e-cigarettes are causing severe burns due to unsafe batteries exploding. The agency and the CDC recommend using vape pens with safety features, including those created to prevent battery overheating, and keeping batteries away from metal objects like coins and keys. Tallmadge D'Elia's death is being called the first fatality linked to e-cigarettes, but officials still don't know exactly how it happened.

The report blames the incidents on lithium-ion batteries in the products. Treatment for chemical and thermal burns from e-cigarette explosions can lead to months or even years of painful treatment, and in some cases require bone grafts, skin grafts, and other reconstructive surgery.

Use the charger that came with the device.

"The two major causes of dramatic failures with the larger units are overcharging of the battery and then the shorting of the battery", said Thomas Kiklas, the chief financial officer of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

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