Burning Issues

An Irish vaper had to go to hospital for urgent skin grafts after his vape kit injured his chest. Although the volume of incidents relating to mod injuries has reduced over the last few years, the advice is still to treat your equipment with respect.

A Dubliner required an urgent chest skin graft as a result of a leaky ecig that he was carrying in a shirt pocket. He was treated by the medics at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and an account of the incident was recently carried in the Irish Medical Journal.

The 60-year-old had to be admitted for the serious injury after he presented complaining of a sudden chest pain. Unbelievably, he had not looked underneath his shirt to examine the area himself.

Doctors noticed the shirt was wet in the affected area and upon removing it found that his chest carried a wound resulting from burning. They conducted a graft using skin from the man’s thigh.

Doctors wrote: “Once his clothing had been removed, the pain eased and the diagnosis of a burn was confirmed. It had inadvertently activated and the e-liquid had leaked from the device, causing a burn.”

The report states that incident, “was likely the result of a fault in the product and a mixture of both chemical and thermal burns”.

Four weeks after the accident, his doctors said the chest and wound had fully healed and he was discharged to his GP.

The doctors have said that vapers need to make sure they carry their equipment safely, ensuring the button is not accidentally pressed in a pocket or bag. They added that people need to be especially careful when the device is carried close to the skin.

Also, they suggested that vapers make use of insulated cases when carrying their equipment about.

Vape devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries. If a button stays pushed down, it can do more than just overheat the liquid and cause it to leak. The structure inside the battery begins to break down and can lead to an internal short circuit.

When this happens to a battery, also known as a cell, it can then overheat – leading to something known as thermal runaway. When batteries do this, they vent gases and can cause fires.

This happens very infrequently, and this fact has been recognised by the London Fire Brigade as it frequently recommends smokers switch to vaping to reduce the risk of fires at home. Their website gives excellent advice on batteries, charging, buying the right equipment, how to look after your e-cigarette, and safety features.

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said: “So many of deaths and injuries could have been prevented either stopping smoking or by switching to vaping. We would rather people didn’t smoke at all but if they do, vaping is a safer option. There is a common misconception that vapes are a fire risk but the reality is they have caused a very small number of fires – normally because the device is broken or it’s being charged by a faulty charger. Smoking on the other hand is a killer.”