The Korea Herald


Electric cigarette explodes in U.S. man’s mouth


Published : Feb. 16, 2012 - 09:29

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 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 Wednesday.

A man smokes an electric cigarette. (MCT) A man smokes an electric cigarette. (MCT)

“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 the Associated Press’ 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 Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said the industry knows of no problems with the cigarettes or batteries exploding.

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 vapor 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. (AP)


<한글 기사>

전자 담배가 입안에서 폭발! 치아 혀 날아가

한 미국남성이 피우던 전자담배가 입안에서 그대로 폭발하면서 부상을 입는 일이 벌어졌다.

플로리다 주 노스 베이 마을의 경찰은 남자가 피우던 전자담배가 불량전지 문제로 인해 폭발했다고 전하며, 그가 이 일로 치아 여러 개와 혀의 일부를 잃고 얼굴에 심한 화상을 입었다고 밝혔다.

AP통신이 보도한 바에 따르면 이 남자의 신상은 공식적으로 밝혀지지 않았으나  페이스북에 올라온 신원정보와 대조해본 결과 57세 톰 홀로웨이로 추정된다고 밝혔다.

경찰의 조세프 파커 형사는 전자담배폭발의 효과가 “폭발하는 병 로켓 (bottle rocket)을 입에 물고 있는 것”과 같다고 설명했다. 그는 이 폭발로 담배에서 전지가 튀어나와 화재를 일으켰다고 덧붙혔다.

해당 전자담배의 상호나, 문제를 일으킨 전지의 종류는 알려지지 않았다.
하지만 파커 형사는 방 안에 충전기와 다른 전지들이 있었던 걸로 봐서 리튬 전지였을 가능성이 크다고 밝혔다. 그는 이와 비슷한 사례가 보도된 바는 없다고 말했다.

증기연초 전자담배 협회 (Tobacco vapor Electronic Cigarette Association) 의 공동 창립자 토마스 키크라스 씨는 담배나 전지 폭발에 관련해 이 분야에서 전혀 보고된 바가 없다고 했다.

키크라스 씨는 전자담배 사업자들이 전자담배가 담배를 끊는데 도움이 된다고 주장하지는 않으며 화학물질이 기존 담배에 비해 적기 때문에 흡연보다는 더 건강에 좋은 대안이라고 밝혔다.