E-cigarette explodes in man's mouth

2012-02-16 12:01

Pensacola - A man trying to kick the smoking habit was puffing on an electronic cigarette when a faulty battery caused it to explode in his mouth, taking out some of his front teeth and a chunk of his tongue and severely burning his face, fire officials said on Wednesday.

"The best analogy is like it was trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off," said Joseph Parker, division chief for the North Bay Fire Department. "The battery flew out of the tube and set the closet on fire."

Officials have not publicly identified him, citing fire department policy. But a Facebook page under the name of 57-year-old Tom Holloway was filled with well-wishers commenting on the injury and database searches matched his address on the fire report with his name.

Holloway was in his office at home when the device exploded, leaving behind burned chair cushions, pictures, carpet and office equipment. A scorched battery case found on a piece of melted carpet appears to be one for a cigar-sized device, the report said.

Holloway and his family members didn't immediately answer requests for interviews.

Investigators do not know the brand of cigarette, type of battery or age of the device, Parker said. It appears the battery was rechargeable lithium because a recharging station and other batteries were in the room, he said. Parker said he has yet to hear of any similar instances.

Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapour Electronic Cigarette Association, said the industry knows of no problems with the cigarettes or batteries exploding.

Billions of puffs

Kicklas said the rigid, plastic cigarettes include a small battery and cartridge. The battery is designed to generate an electric charge when the device is inhaled. The charge sets off vapour in the cigarette tube. The nicotine-filled mist gives the taste and experience of smoking without the smoke.

Kiklas cited a federal report that found 2.5 million Americans used electronic cigarettes last year.

"There have been billions and billions of puffs on the cigarettes and we have not heard of this happening before," he said.

The industry does not claim electronic cigarettes allow smokers to kick the habit, just that they are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes because they have fewer chemicals, Kiklas said.

The Food and Drug Administration posted a warning about the cigarettes on its website in October saying that e-cigarettes were addictive, could contain dangerous chemicals like nicotine and might encourage kids to try other tobacco products.

In 2010, the agency sent letters to some e-cigarette makers for violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act including "violations of good manufacturing practices, making unsubstantiated drug claims and using the devices as delivery mechanisms for active pharmaceutical ingredients", according to the FDA website.

  • Fidel - 2012-02-16 12:27

    "Smoking is harmfull". Aren't all cigarrette packages mandated by law to carry this message.

      Cameronl - 2012-02-16 13:03

      Dear Andrew my health is perfectly fine thank you for caring! did you actually read what the moron above me wrote? or are you one of those sypmathetic idiots who feel they need to defend people who dont have the intelligence to write comments worth a damn.

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 13:22

      @Cameron The only moron here is you. Go wind someone else up with your nonsense, you'll get no further attention here.

      Cameronl - 2012-02-16 13:31

      suggestion of the day: Andrew and Fidel get a room, you 2 seem to have forgotten about this poor guys misfortune, and clearly cant handle bad criticism. Have a nice day love birds

  • Susan - 2012-02-16 12:30

    that's what you get!!!!

      J-Man - 2012-02-16 12:44

      for what? trying to quit?

      Chris - 2012-02-16 14:28

      She's right, the article fails to mention that he modified the battery to 6v from 2.7v ... It was his fault.

  • Cameronl - 2012-02-16 12:46

    HOLY CRAP - i smell a big ass law suit coming

  • Che - 2012-02-16 13:02

    Shame poor fellow.. Trying to quit and the whole thing blew up in his face.. wonder how hard he sucked for the electronics to short circuit ?

  • tertia888 - 2012-02-16 13:06

    To lose a chunck of your tongue..that is HORRIBLE!!!

  • Johan - 2012-02-16 13:07

    I see a large damage settlement claim coming !

  • Chantel - 2012-02-16 13:18

    But who does he sue?? the e-cigarette company or the battery company??

      JJ - 2012-02-16 14:14

      Both, battery company as first defendant and e-cigarette company as second defendant.

      J-Man - 2012-02-16 15:04

      @ Chris - how do you know? Sources?

      Chris - 2012-02-16 16:15

      My reply was deleted for some strange reason, but this story is from yesterday.

  • iGeorge_S - 2012-02-16 13:22

    HOLY CRAP IN CRAP!! Sheesh, thats bad, sorry buddy.

  • pam.benink - 2012-02-16 13:22

    As someone who recently gave up and used an electronic ciggie as an aide, I can tell you that it sometimes tasted of battery, reminding me how harmful it and cigaretts actually are. It did the job though. 6 weeks in and I'm still off the cancer sticks. I wish this man a speedy and full recovery. I'm sure the manufacturer will pay him out a huge sum!

      iGeorge_S - 2012-02-16 13:24

      congrats on the 6 weeks, good job.

      Cameronl - 2012-02-16 13:33

      Hi Pam long time no see, congrats on the 6 weeks thats excellent :) all the best hun take care

  • maleguru - 2012-02-16 13:26

  • Hannes - 2012-02-16 13:27

    and there goes my idea on quit smoking... i will keep to the ones i light up with my lighter and take my chance on cancer instead of taking a chance of blowing up my face... problem to these e-smokes and batteries is the mass production to make money as quick as possible and not employing enough workers...

      Monique - 2012-02-16 13:59

      Agree, I will take my chances with my siggies untill I go on the Allan Carr course-then I won't need the electrics.

      pam.benink - 2012-02-16 15:44

      Seriously? Do you realise how silly that sounds? How many people die in accidents every day? You not going to drive because them? One a million of these have been sold and this is the first time this has ever happened. If you want to stop, stop! If not, don't. But be honest about it and don't hide behind a fluke!

      Berthram Bowles - 2012-02-16 19:34

      @pam.benink: you are 100% right, accidents do happen. All the time. But u don't find cars blowing up because of a manufacturing mistake, do u? Accidents are caused by people. If accidents in smoking happened, it'd be stuff like touching a hot battery pack or dropping it on ur toe. Don't campare 2 things that are totally different. And I am not saying people should should stop trying e-cigarettes because of 1 incident. The comparison just threw me off as it does not makes sense

  • Babhekile - 2012-02-16 13:29

    electric something in my mouth? Tjo! help me God

  • iGeorge_S - 2012-02-16 13:35

    This even scares me to use an electric tootbrush and remember that thing goes all the way to the back of your mouth.

  • Anastasia - 2012-02-16 13:37

    aaaaaand tobacco companies round the world rejoice and rub their hands with glee...

  • RobertKeeling - 2012-02-16 13:39

    I decided to give up overnight, and had no problems, even aftr 60 odd a day. Mind you - the fact that at the time I was in a doctor's consulting room after having suffered a mild heart attack did help. When he asked me whether I smoked, I said I had given up. When he asked when, I replied about 1/2 hour ago! But I must admit if I had known it was that easy for me, I would have done it years ago. Good luck to the unfortunate gent.

      ludlowdj - 2012-02-16 14:02

      The only requirement for giving up smoking as you have proved to yourself is the will, if you are really adamant you want to stop you will, if you enjoy smoking or just want to please someone else by giving up the chances are you will fail, however one must also remember that every smoke you don't have is a victory, so even if you only manage to cut down a bit you still on the right track and need to look at the success not the failures.

  • bmaestro - 2012-02-16 13:44


  • Nezar Eldidy - 2012-02-16 13:47

    Sorry for the guy, plastic surgery is necessary..

  • Eugene - 2012-02-16 13:47

    He will never smoke again ;-) Therefore he got wanted he was looking for out of the product.

      Monique - 2012-02-16 13:59

      Don't be too sure of that.

  • reaazw - 2012-02-16 13:51

    Seriously unlucky....I smoke cigarettes and the worst that's happened to me was a mildly scorched finger....hectic...hope he survives long enough to spend all the lovely money's the e-cigarette manufacturer and battery maker is gonna have to throw at him to make it go away....

  • Mc - 2012-02-16 14:19

    So smoking in whatever form is very very dangerous!

  • kritzinger - 2012-02-16 14:38

    Let me guess, Cameron, you're a smoker? I love how defensive smokers get when the topic of health comes up.

  • jekimbal - 2012-02-16 14:47

    Tragic story but I am willing to bet the guy was using unprotected batteries in a mod and also stacking them. I would love for this article to showcase the full facts around the batteries (models,makes,voltages) along with any other makes and models of e-cigs found in this persons home. Anyone who uses incorrect voltage batteries, stacks them , or buys unprotected batteries are asking for trouble.

  • Adrian - 2012-02-16 14:49

    Well I can bet you he won't be smoking again!

  • leondlg - 2012-02-16 15:02

    Cellphones also explode, this is one in millions

  • Brendan - 2012-02-16 15:02


  • adrian.devries.9 - 2013-01-31 12:22

    Get your E-cigarettes from Vape Africa!

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