Man loses teeth, jaw wired together after e-cig explodes

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan
Published: Updated:

ENGLEWOOD, Fla.- A man lost eight teeth and had to have his jaw wired after he said his e-cigarette exploded in his face.

Chris Thompson was on his way to breakfast with his dad, Mike, on Sunday when he said suddenly his e-cigarette exploded in his right hand.

“I was about to take a puff off of it, like I normally did hundreds of times before and just had it in my mouth and pressed the button and it exploded,” Chris said. “I said ‘what happened?’ And my dad was pulling over at the time and he said ‘your e-cigarette blew up.’ I looked down and I was on fire right here [chest] and parts of the battery or whatever was burning went down into my lap.”

They drove immediately to Englewood emergency room, and from there Chris was flown to Blake Trauma Center in Bradenton. Chris said eight of his teeth are now wired to stay in place, his jaw is wired, he has cuts on his right eye and burns marks on his chest and leg.

“I never anticipated in a million years that it would be like a mini grenade going off in my hand, right next to my face,” he said. “There was no warning, there’s was no advance notice, there was no shaking, no vibration. Nothing. I was just puffing on it, the same way that I had done for the last two years.”

Chris’ dad Mike is a Vietnam veteran and described the explosion as a bomb going off.

“I didn’t know with all the things happening around the country today, if it was an ambush, an IED, a hand grenade,” Mike said. “I saw the white muzzle flash out of the corner of my eye…The boom at the exact same time, the vehicle filled with toxic fumes, the floor in front of me was on fire. So I’m dropping the windows, stomping out the fire, slamming on the brakes and my son’s asking me, ‘Dad, what happened?'”

Chris is not sure how long it will take him to recover, but he hopes by sharing his story it will stop someone else from using an e-cigarette until they are safe.

“I’d give it a second thought because this is going to take a long time to heal and it’s very painful.”

In October 2014, FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration released a studyΒ on e-cigarettes. They found there were 25 different incidents of explosions or fires that involved e-cigarettes reported in the media in the U.S. between 2009 and August 2014.

At this point, there are no regulations on e-cigarettes, but if you have an incident with one you can report it to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088 or by filling out an online form.

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