A shattered jaw, missing teeth, and a hole in his chin.
Those were the injuries a 17-year-old boy in Salt Lake City reportedly suffered after the vape pen he was smoking exploded in his mouth.
The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday published details on the March 2018 incident, with doctors calling the damage “kind of like a close-range gunshot wound.”
The teen was reportedly gifted the vape pen from his mother so he could quit smoking cigarettes, the Washington Post reported.
The boy had had the vape pen for about a month when the explosion happened.
According to the case study, a 3D scan of the teen’s head revealed the full extent of damage.
“The vape blew up his lower jaw causing a major fracture and bone loss,” said Katie Russell, a pediatric trauma surgeon who treated the boy at the University of Utah Health Care and Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. “He also lost multiple teeth, had a large cut in his mouth, and some lip burns.”
The teen underwent two surgeries and had titanium plates installed in his jaw, which was wired shut.
Six weeks later the wire in his jaw was removed and the boy is recovering.
He has also reportedly quit smoking.
According to the FDA, e-cigarette explosions happen when the lithium-ion battery inside a vape pen overheats; the FDA is in charge of regulating all tobacco products including e-cigarettes.
The boy’s mother had submitted her son’s severe injuries to the New England Journal of Medicine in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of vape pens.
According to a study published by Tobacco Control, there were an estimated 2,035 e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries at emergency rooms in the U.S. from 2015 to 2017.
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