People have tried numerous methods of quitting smoking: stopping cold turkey, gradually reducing the number of cigarettes or using specialized gum. The newest way is the electronic cigarette, which is battery-operated and simulates the flavor, appearance and sensations of cigarettes.
They are not regulated by the FDA, however, and a recent accident involving a Florida man shows that there are potential dangers. He was apparently smoking the e-cigarette when it exploded in his mouth, knocking out all his teeth and part of his tongue. It also set the room on fire. His wife says she heard the man’s scream and the explosion, which she describes as sounding like a “firecracker.” The incident has left many wondering whether part of the cigarette, such as the battery, could have been defective.
According to ABC News, the chief of the North Bay Fire District says that he’s never seen anything like this before and that it looked as if the man was holding a bottle rocket in his mouth. It’s not known what brand of cigarette the 57-year-old man, who is a Vietnam veteran, was smoking. It appears, however, that the battery was rechargeable lithium since there was a charger nearby in the room.
The man was apparently using e-cigarettes to try to kick the smoking habit. He first attempted to quit about two years ago.
The incident has prompted many to question why the FDA has left the products unregulated. That’s likely to change: Last year, the FDA laid out plans to regulate additional categories of tobacco products.