No one wants to see kids using e-cigarettes, but in most places, they are easily accessible. When a teen walks into a vape shop, far too often they can buy anything they want with no questions asked. With no current regulations to insure the devices offered are safe and built to certain quality standards, tragedy can strike in an instant. This is especially true in situations where teens seek out mechanical mods that can create big vapor clouds, but often carry heavier risks for malfunction.
That’s exactly what happened this week when a 16-year-old teen from Canada suffered serious injuries after an ecigarette exploded in his face. Perry Greer said his son, Ty, was using the ecig in his car when suddenly it just blew up. “It lit my kid’s face on fire, busted two teeth out,” Greer said. “It burned the back of his throat, burned his tongue very badly. If he wasn’t wearing glasses, he possibly could have lost his eyes.” Greer rushed his son to the hospital, but he said the teen was in such agony that he actually begged to die. “He wanted to die. That is how much pain he was in.”
The teen was using a Wotofo Phantom, a Chinese ecig that is commonly sold in vape shops across Canada. “He pushed the button and blew in, and then you wait a couple of seconds, and then you puff on it. It was about two inches from his mouth and it just blew apart.”
Now Ty is being treated for first and second degree burns. He had multiple lacerations to his face and has already undergone two root canals. His face was blackened with burns following the explosion. “It is horrific to see your kid with his face so burnt,” Greer said.
After watching his son suffer such horrible injuries that will undoubtedly lead to life long scars, Greer is calling for officials to take action and ban the sale of ecigs to all minors. Currently, Alberta has no provincial rule regarding ecigs and allows municipalities to create guidelines as they see fit.
Les Hagen from Action on Smoking and Health expressed his sympathy for Ty and his serious injuries. He pointed out that this is just another example of the need for regulatory changes to protect our kids from sub-standard ecigarettes. “We absolutely need product standards. For instance, they shouldn’t explode in your mouth,” Hagen said. “The other element with this particular incident is this product was sold to a minor, to a 16-year-old. We would like to see a ban on the sale of these products to minors, just like we have with cigarettes.”
It’s time for officials to take action and make new laws to prohibit teens from buying ecigarettes. While ecigs can often provide smokers a smart alternative to tobacco, they can also be dangerous when used incorrectly. If we want to protect our young people, we need to insure that the local vape shops cannot legally sell them ecigs anymore. Do you think ecig sales to minors should be completely banned?