a graphic showing an exploding vape with flames and smoke

Exploding vapes that caused injury in 2023

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

In 2023, there were several injuries caused by exploding e-cigarettes, showing a continuation of a worrying trend first identified several years ago when the first reports of exploding vapes began to surface. Although these incidents are relatively rare, when they do occur, the consequences can be severe. According to one study, from 2015 through 2017, there were 2,035 ER visits for e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries.

Another study highlighted the risks associated with vaping in the presence of supplemental oxygen. Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina found that vaping near supplemental oxygen can ignite the oxygen, leading to burns, fires, or explosions. This risk is particularly relevant for patients with end-stage COPD who are on oxygen and may switch to vaping as a smoking cessation method. The combination of the high temperatures generated by e-cigarettes and the high flow of oxygen can cause ignition, even without any malfunction of the device. 

These studies show that while e-cigarette explosions are not common, they pose a significant risk and can lead to severe injuries or fatalities. In this article we will review several cases of people being injured by exploding vapes in 2023.

Phoenix Man Severely Burned When Vape Explodes In Pocket

(source) Jason Stine was driving on the freeway when he said his vape exploded in his pocket. The jeans he was wearing are burned, and a coin is melted into the fabric. “It was like when you light off a flare,” he told On Your Side. “It was just instantaneous, zero to a thousand.”

Stine pulled over to the side of the road and tried to pat out the flames. “I scooped up the ice cream in my hands and used the ice cream to put the fire out,” he said. “It burned everything. My seat. My vehicle. The key fob is charred. My seat is charred. Part of the steering column is charred. The steering wheel is charred. It was a hot fire, and like I said, I couldn’t get it out at first. I remember thinking, ‘Crap, I need a fire extinguisher. Of course, I didn’t have one, so ice cream was the next best bet.”

Vape explosions are rare, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but they do happen. According to one study, from 2015 through 2017, there were 2,035 ER visits for e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries. “Of course, the minute you have battery-operated products, there is definitely an elevated risk,” said Ashita Kapoor, the associate director of product safety at Consumer Reports.

Investigations into safety issues are ongoing. “This has become a multi-billion-dollar industry over the past few years, so concerns related to safety is something that we’re definitely going to see as volume of these products increase,” Kapoor said. “Number one, you want to make sure that you’re not leaving this thing to charge for long periods of time. Number two, you want to definitely follow the manufacturer’s instructions for battery replacement, disposal of batteries as well, and not using different brands or using one new and one old. You don’t want to be doing any mixing when it comes to the batteries.”

The FDA says it’s also important to charge the device on a clean, flat surface away from flammable things like pillows and couches. E-cigarettes should also be protected from extreme temperatures, the agency said. Never leave a vape in direct sunlight or in a hot car.

Jason’s burns are severe. He was in the hospital for more than a week. “The whole back of my leg is skin grafts, so it’s all hamburgered up,” Stine said. “Just sitting here talking to you, I’m in an extreme amount of pain. It’s excruciating.” Jason has no idea what caused his vape to explode. He says it was fairly new and he was using it properly. “I never thought that that day when I was leaving that something like this was going to happen. It never even crossed my mind,” he said. “I want people to know this happens.”

British Man’s Leg Injured By Exploding Vape In Pocket

leg burn from exploding vape

(source) A builder whose vape exploded into ‘nine-inch flames’ in his pocket was left with ‘excruciating’ second-degree burns after the e-cigarette combusted.

Dave Johnson, 41, was forced to rip off his shorts after they set on fire whilst he carried a heavy paving stone on a job at a customer’s house. The dad-of-two screamed in agony at the pain after hearing a sizzling sound moments before the accident.

He was rushed to Airedale Hospital in Steeton, West Yorkshire after his colleague heard the chaos unfolding, where medics scraped off his charred, dead skin and bandaged him up before they sent him home. But Dave was forced to return to doctors a second time after the huge 12-inch patch of raw and red skin became infected, leaving him hospitalized for six days and on IV antibiotics.

The ex-smoker, from Colne in Lancashire, quit normal cigarettes to improve his health as it is ‘the better of two evils’. He added: “I’d taken a fully-charged battery for the e-cig and it was in my pocket with my keys, I normally leave spare batteries in the van. It shorted on my keys in my pocket and exploded. I heard a fizzing sound, almost like when a firework rocket starts to go off, and then felt the pain.

“The pain in my right leg was excruciating, like if you put your hand in far too hot water. I knew straight away it had done damage. I dropped the flag and saw flames shooting out of my pocket – the flames were eight or nine inches coming out of my leg. I originally tried to stick my hand in to get it out but I couldn’t. Then eventually it burned a hole through my shorts and it fell out onto the floor.”

Dave, who is now recovering after his spell in hospital, says his wound is healing well and he now wants to warn other people against making the same mistake. He explained: “It’s doing ok, it’s just a case of waiting for it to heal. It wasn’t the actual e-cig that caused it, it was incorrect transportation of the battery. I’m still vaping but I’m not keeping batteries in my pocket any more. I would say to people to just be careful and be aware this can happen.”

Australian Man Needs Skin Grafts After Vape Explodes In Pocket

australian man needs skin grafts after vape explodes in his pocket

(source) A West Australian man has been left with horrific burns after his vaping equipment exploded and caught fire in his pocket. He is now warning others about the risks of vaping. The 40-year-old needed skin grafts and a two-week hospital stay after sustaining burns to 7 percent of his total body surface area.

“Although the burns team were fantastic, burns are a horrific and terrifying experience,” the man said. “100 per cent don’t start vaping in the first place; it was the worst thing I ever did. To all the kids out there, look at what happened to me; respect yourself, respect your life.”

The AMA (WA) supports the recent intervention by the Federal Government on e-cigarettes, with plain packaging and a ban on flavors to be introduced, to make the products less attractive to users, particularly young adults and children.

As reported in The West Australian, one in six teenagers aged 14-17 has used vapes in Australia, compared with one in four in the 18-24 age group. By contrast, only one in 70 people aged in their 50s has tried the product. AMA (WA) President Dr Mark Duncan-Smith, a burns surgeon who treated the man, said vaping was the new nicotine business delivery model of big tobacco.

“It is absolutely necessary that we protect our children from nicotine addiction and the health dangers of vaping,” he said. “The AMA has lobbied for changes in the regulation of vaping and welcomes these changes.” When tested, two-thirds of non-nicotine vapes actually contained nicotine. Vapes also contain poisonous chemicals and known carcinogens.

“If you’re a parent out there with a high school child and you don’t think that your child has tried vapes, there’s a one in seven chance that they have tried vaping,” Dr Duncan-Smith said. “Non-smokers who vape are three times more likely to take up cigarettes. It is essential that we protect our children from nicotine addiction and the dangers of vapes. The AMA (WA) recognises the strength and foresight of Health Minister Mark Butler in making these changes.”


  • Since 2016 the rate of children and young people using e-cigarettes has grown rapidly.
  • Some vaping products can contain 50 x more nicotine than a cigarette.
  • Nicotine-free vaping products contain harmful chemicals, some of the same chemicals used in nail polish remover, weed killer and insecticide.
  • Vaping is linked to serious lung disease and some chemicals in vapes are carcinogenic.
  • A review by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) highlighted the increased risk of poisoning, seizures and lung injury.
  • Vaping leads to smoking. An Australian National University (ANU) study showed that using e- cigarettes triples the likelihood of taking up conventional smoking.
  • According to an ABC report, the sale of nicotine vapes and e-cigarettes without a prescription has been illegal in WA for several years, but not a single retailer has been fined in the past 12 months. This was despite more than 24,000 illegal vapes being seized during that period and the Health Department writing to 3,000 retailers in August last year to place them “on notice”.

Van Carrying Over 2,000 Vapes Bursts Into Flames Following Accident

a van carry over 2000 vapes burst into flames in connecticut

(source) A van carrying more than 2,000 vapes burst into flames after it was involved in an accident on a highway, Connecticut officials say. Officials responded to the fire July 18 on an interstate in Southington, according to the Southington Fire Department. The van carrying the vapes, also known as electronic cigarettes, rear-ended another vehicle, and its engine compartment ignited, Battalion Chief Tom Donnelly told McClatchy News. The vapes also caught fire, he said.

The drivers of both vehicles were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, he said. An environmental services contractor responded to help with cleanup, Dustin Mitchell, president of Environmental Services, Inc., based in South Windsor, told McClatchy News. The company shared photos of the burned van and charred vapes on its Facebook page.

Since vapes contain nicotine, they are considered hazardous waste, he said. Each vape must be individually bagged prior to disposal because they have lithium-ion batteries, he said. Lithium-ion batteries can ignite if they touch each other. Since the fire damaged the plastic shells of many of the vapes, the batteries are exposed, which poses a fire hazard.

Once all the damaged vapes are properly packaged, they’ll be brought to a disposal facility, he said. The batteries inside vapes can catch fire or explode if overheated, according to Levin Simes, a California-based law office.

Mother and 2 Children Killed by Fire From Vape Supplies

apartment in new york burnt from vape supplies

(source) A Brooklyn house fire that killed a woman, her daughter and another child on Tuesday was fueled by the ingredients of a homemade vaping product that the children’s father concocted in their apartment and intended to sell, the police said on Wednesday.

The flames, which tore through the three-story home in the East New York section of Brooklyn at about 2 a.m., also grievously injured one of the man’s other children. Chief James Essig of the Police Department said that child was “severely likely to die.”

The fire’s cause remains under investigation, but investigators found a substance used to make vaping products, said Chief Essig. He did not identify the accelerant but said the children’s father had been using it to make items to sell.

“Whether the accelerant was deliberately used or recklessly used is still under investigation,” Chief Essig said. “It catches fire somehow. Is that criminal? That’s still to be determined.”

The father’s hands were burned, but he is expected to survive, the chief said. The authorities declined to publicly identify the deceased on Wednesday. “It’s just terrible, a terrible incident,” Chief Essig said. It was one of three deadly fires in New York City between Sunday and Tuesday, the fire commissioner, Laura Kavanagh, said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to the deaths in Brooklyn, one person was killed in a house fire in the Bronx on Tuesday, and two were killed in a fire in Washington Heights in Manhattan on Sunday night.

She said the fire in Manhattan was caused by a lithium ion battery. Those batteries, she said, were “quickly becoming one of the leading causes of fire deaths this year.”

There have been 76 fires, 60 injuries and seven deaths caused by the batteries so far this year, “surpassing the total of all of last year,” said Ms. Kavanagh. In the Brooklyn vaping fire, the mother and her 17-year-old daughter died. A 10-year-old girl who was the daughter of the man who used the vaping product also died on Wednesday. It was not clear if she was also the daughter of the woman who died.

Three people remained hospitalized in critical condition at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center: a 39-year-old man and two children: a 9-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, according to the police. The family had lived in the home for at least four years, said Mercy Burah, who owns the building and lives in a unit below the family. Ms. Burah said she was woken by screaming Tuesday morning. When she checked the upstairs unit, she saw flames behind a couch, she said.

“I started screaming for the children to get out,” she said, referring to her own children.

Once she was outside, she said she did not see the woman or her children until emergency services removed the children from the home to take them to the hospital. “Only the husband, we met outside,” said Ms. Burah. “He was the one we saw outside. But the kids and the mother, we didn’t see them.”

English Truck Driver’s Hand, Beard and Clothes Set On Fire By Vape

(source) Mike Calver, 38, was changing the battery on his device at home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., when it blew up. His hand, beard and clothes were set on fire – while the scolding e-cigarette stuck to his hand.

Wife Leanne Calver, 29, came to his aid and rushed him to A&E, where plastic surgeons worked on him. Mike is now in recovery, but still has scars from the October 29 ordeal. And he wants people to be aware of the dangers of e-cigarettes. He said: “I bought a new set of batteries on Amazon, and I had loaded them into the e-cig. As I clicked the battery it exploded. I was engulfed in flames – my hand, beard, and clothes were on fire. I managed to douse the flames pretty quickly. One of the batteries that exploded stuck to my hands and started to melt into my hand.”

Leanne, a senior administrator, said: “I was terrified. In the moment I had no idea if Mike’s hand or fingers had been blown off. And at the same time there was a fireball in the kitchen. The house was filling rapidly with black smoke and I needed to get Mike to the hospital as soon as possible. But I was so concerned about getting back to the house and the dogs, who were terrified as well.”

Mike had bought the e-cigarette and batteries on Amazon in September. He then tried to set it up last month. After the battery exploded, Leanne ran into the kitchen to see if Mike was okay. And he said: “The house quickly filled with smoke – it was not a nice experience. Leanne was in the front room and heard the bang so she jumped up and came into the kitchen. I had thrown the e-cig across the room while it was still on fire and it had set fire to the floor. Leanne managed to put out the fire and started to freak out when she started to see how black my hand was.”

Mike was taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital, where he waited for hours with his hand in a cold bucket of water. He said: “The pain was ok when I had my hand in the water. But I had to keep refilling the bucket as my hand would heat the water up. In between refilling, I would be in excruciating pain.”

Mike was then seen by the plastic surgery team at the hospital who performed a procedure to remove the burnt skin. He said the procedure which lasted just over an hour – and was “horrendous”. Mike said: “They gave me a lot of morphine but the process itself was horrendous. They had to burst all the blisters and cut all the skin away from my hand. I was in A&E for six hours and left at 3am the following morning. They bandaged my hand up and sent me on my way. Living with what I am living with at the moment is not great.”

Mike is now on statutory sick pay while he waits for his hand to heal, which could take between four to six weeks. He wants other people to know how quickly something like this can happen. Mike said: “The next morning was when it all sank in, it was a harrowing experience. I was very lucky that it wasn’t on my face and it was just me and my wife in the house. I am doing ok now, I have had three plastic surgery consultations and they have taken most of the bandages off. My palm is exposed at the minute and will heal itself – thankfully I don’t need a skin graft.”

What to do if you have been injured by an exploding vape?

If you have been injured by an explosion caused by a vape, after you seek medical help, call J&Y Law Firm for help with getting damages for your injuries. We have a history of success in personal injury claims, having recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We are available at 310-774-0778 and look forward to assisting you today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.