Photo courtesy of Vaping360/Flickr
The first reported death in the U.S. from an e-cigarette explosion was of my older brother, Thomas, in 2015. So it’s no wonder why the proliferation of vaping on campus makes me uncomfortable—so uncomfortable that I have walked up to people and asked them to stop. And now I’m writing about it here in hopes that a tragedy can lead people to understand the dangers involved and avoid similar incidents.
Thre first wrongful death lawsuit in the CourtHouse News database over an alleged e-cig explosion was filed last month. The complaint alleges that a vaporizer device launched shrapnel into 30-year-old Thomas Gangi’s head while he was in his Bohmemia, N.Y. home, in Nov. 2015.
Gangi died in the fire, his estate says — CourtHouse News
I am sure most people that attend the Ammerman campus have walked through a big cloud of vape smoke, sometimes where there’s a sign that says no smoking is allowed on campus. But it’s not the smoke that concerns me the most. Vaporizers exploding are on the rise, along with their popularity among younger people and those looking for a way to quit smoking cigarettes.
I will not deny that when vaporizers first became readily available to the public, they piqued my interest because it was thought to be a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking and had many wonderful alluring flavors. I think that if more people knew how common the hazards of vaporizers exploding are they would maybe rethink their usage.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, between January 2009 and Dec. 31, 2016, there were 195 incidents reported from e-cigs exploding causing fire and injury; 121 of them exploded while in use or on one’s person. The explosions are due to the lithium-ion battery that is used to power the e-cig, according to the USFA.
Screenshot taken from usfa.fema.gov
The USFA also reported that in this time frame there had been no deaths linked to the explosion of e-cigs, but there is new information attesting to my brother’s death. The USFA report does not list his death because at the time when the reports were published, the final determination for his cause of death had not been finalized.
Lithium-ion batteries were also the cause of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone explosions.
I had never in a million years thought that something so insignificant could kill someone, but my reality is a lesson for everyone. The sight of vaporizers makes me relive a nightmare that I hope no one else ever has to. I am hoping that, in light of my story, people will be more inclined to adhere to rules and be more courteous to others.