A TEENAGER suffered horror injuries after his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth – and blew out his teeth.
The 17-year-old had to travel 250 miles with a bloody mouth, broken teeth and a hole in his jaw to get the nearest hospital after the freak accident.
2 A 17-year-old boy's teeth were blown out after his e-cigarette exploded in his mouthCredit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2019
Doctors rushed the boy into surgery to reconstruct and repair the shattered bone, according to a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The unnamed boy from Nevada, Utah, had extensive injuries to his mouth, several missing teeth and a broken lower jaw when he got to A&E two hours after the explosion.
He was treated by Dr Katie Russell, a paediatric trauma surgeon at the University of Utah and Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.
She told Live Science: "When I met this patient, I had no idea that a vape pen could do this. It takes a lot of force to break your jaw."
It's not clear what caused the explosion as the device was in good condition and hadn't shown any problems prior, she said.
Dr Russell described the teen as a "tough kid" but said he was "pretty freaked out" in the hours after the explosion.
She explained that he needed several teeth removed because the sockets had been destroyed.
He also had to have a dental plate fitted under his lower gums to stabilise the jaw bone, but his mouth still wouldn't close properly.
So, doctors wired his jaw shut for six weeks to give it time to heal, she explained.
A year on and the boy still has teeth missing as he hasn't been able to get replacements for insurance reasons.
However, he hopes to get them fitted this summer, according to Dr Russell.
He's also quit his smoking habit since the incident, she added.
Warning to others
Dr Russell said she wanted to publish the case because she had been left surprised by the extent of the injuries caused by an e-cigarette.
She hopes the case may help educate health care providers and the public about the risks of these devices.
The medic told CNN: "People need to know before they buy these devices that there's a possibility they're going to blow up in your pocket, in your face."
Some evidence suggests that issues with e-cigarette batteries could lead to an explosion.
The Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) in the US recommends users avoid charging the devices overnight or leaving them unattended while charging.
Users should also avoid using chargers from other devices, like phones or tablets, and replaced batteries if they get damaged or wet.
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The agency also says vapes should be protected from extreme hot or cold temperatures, so don't leave them in direct sunlight or the car for long periods.
In February, a 24-year-old man in Texas died after a vape pen exploded in his face and tore a major artery in his neck.
A year before that, a man in Florida was found dead after his e-cigarette exploded during use and sent a projectile into his head.
2 A CT scan of the 17-year-old boy, showing his shattered jaw and displaced teethCredit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2019
Simple experiment has been conducted which compares the effects of smoking and e-cigarettes over a month