“These things are deadly,” Evan Spahlinger told INSIDE EDITION. “I thought I was gonna die.”
The 21-year-old, from Naples, Florida, turned to e-cigarettes last year to help him quit smoking. But one day in October, he was struggling to power up the device when it suddenly exploded.
“It went like a pipe bomb,” he said. “My skin was charred. Eyebrows burned off. Eyelashes burned off.”
His sister Eva dialed 911.
“Something exploded in my brother's face!” she says in the call. “He's throwing up. I think it was from one of those electric cigarettes.”
Evan was rushed to hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma with life-threatening burns to his throat and lungs. His mother, Alissa Stefanacci, was devastated.
“To see my son lying in a bed like that with tears down his face and looking up at you and saying to you ‘I’m scared…,’” she recounted.
The family’s attorney believes the problem was with the e-cigarette’s lithium battery.
Spahlinger isn’t the only one who says he’s had problems with e-cigarettes. One 30-yer-old man suffered burns to his face and arms after his device exploded by his bed as he charged it overnight.
Experts offer tips for staying safe while using e-cigarettes:
- Avoid counterfeit brands
- Only use the power charge that came with the battery
- Do not over-charge the battery
- Never plug it into a computer