Burn injuries caused by e-cigarette explosions: A systematic review of published cases
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Department of Health & Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, United States
School of Public Health, University College Cork, Ireland
Publish date: 2018-09-10
Submission date: 2018-05-29
Final revision date: 2018-08-15
Acceptance date: 2018-08-28
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(September):32
E-cigarettes have the potential to cause burns from batteries that explode. Although e-cigarette explosion burns have been reported by the media (e.g. local online news, blogs), there is a need for a comprehensive review of published medical case reports regarding these injuries.

CINAHL and PubMed were systematically searched using common terms regarding e-cigarettes (electronic cigarette, e-cigarette, vape, vaping, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in every combination with the term ‘explosion’. Peerreviewed articles were included if they: were written in English, described case reports of burn injuries caused by e-cigarette explosions, and were published in any year. Cases were categorized by demographics, location of the e-cigarette explosion, burned body areas, types of burns, total body surface area of burns, the need for skin grafting, and the length of hospital stay.

Thirty-one articles were included in the review and described 164 cases. Most patients (90%) were male and between 20 to 29 years old. In the majority of cases (65%), e-cigarettes exploded in pockets, compared to exploding in the face or hand. Common burned areas included the thigh, hand, genitals, and face. Burn severity was typically second-degree burns (35%) or a combination of seconddegree and third-degree burns (20%). In all, 48 patients required skin grafting, with 19 reporting a median hospital stay of 5 days.

This review has several implications, including the need for regulation of batteries, education regarding battery safety, and leveraging images of the severity of e-cigarette explosion burns to discourage the use of e-cigarettes.

Christopher M. Seitz   
Department of Health & Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, 111 Rivers Street, PO Box 32071, 28608 Boone, North Carolina, United States
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