Post courtesy of Cosmopolitan.com
Location: Destin, FL
Date Of Injury: July 2015
James Lauria, a 23-year-old from Destin, Florida, left work on July 29 to smoke an e-cigarette when the e-cig exploded inside of his mouth, according to FOX 5. “Next thing I know, it exploded and I was on my way to a hospital in an ambulance,” Lauria said. “That is the last thing I remember.”
Lauria was a frequent e-cigarette smoker leading up to the accident and had never experienced anything like this before. The explosion burned his cornea and hand, and fractured his neck and his finger. It also blew a hole through his palate while flames simultaneously “went down and he got first-degree burns on his chest and up on his face. It forced his front tooth up into his gum and chipped the other one and damaged a few other lower teeth,” Lauria’s father told FOX.
The injuries were so severe that he was airlifted to the University of Alabama’s Burn Unit, where he spent a week in the ICU. More than six weeks after the explosion, Lauria is still on a liquid diet and will soon be fitted for a prosthetic to close the hole that remains on the roof of his mouth. He is living at home with his parents until he is strong enough to be on his own.
According to FEMA, more than 25 separate incidents of e-cigarette explosions and fires were reported in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014. Thankfully, none of those explosions led to deaths, but two of them resulted in serious burns.