21-year-old Evan Spalinger is in critical condition at a Miami hospital after the mech mod he was vaping on exploded in his face.
Evan’s sister was lying in bed with her 2-year-old son when she heard the explosion and started smelling smoke. She rushed downstairs and found the young man covered in soot. “I found my brother not breathing, with his whole face burned and his neck burned and trying to throw up a little or maybe he was gasping for air, so I called 911,” Emma Robinson told WINK News.
Spalinger was taken to the NCH Downtown Naples Hospital, from where he was flown to a Miami hospital for treatment. Doctors put him in an induced coma so he doesn’t feel any pain. “They said he has internal and external burns and damage to his lungs from the explosion itself. And possibly the mouth piece went, when the cigarette exploded, it went down his throat and exploded again,” his sister told reporters.
She added that Evan will never use electronic cigarettes again. “He said, ‘I’m done, that’s it.’ That’s the only thing he said. We want people to know the risk and dangers. Had Evan of known, maybe he wouldn’t have chosen to smoke the electronic cigarette.”
North Collier Fire & Rescue is investigating the incident. They say the explosion was likely caused by the lithium battery.
Yes, I’d say the battery was definitely the culprit, but still, I wouldn’t rule out human error. It’s too early to tell at this point, and I would hate to accuse this young man of anything, but judging by the looks of his “e-cigarette”, which is actually a mech mod, a short circuit or battery overheating are the most plausible causes of the accident. These are both preventable if the user knows what they’re doing and takes all the necessary precautions.
The fact is that despite the media’s efforts to blame electronic cigarettes for this kind of tragic incidents, all the reported cases so far have been proven to be linked to improper use of the device. Either charging an e-cig with an incompatible charger, tampering with the device or using incompatible components carries life-threatening risks and people sometimes get hurt. You just can’t put the fault on e-cigs before you know all the facts.
I am not very familiar with mech mods, so I don’t know exactly what device Spalinger was using, but it’s definitely a mech. This is a critical detail, because while most e-cigarettes and regulated mods come with built in protection features that prevent short circuits and battery overheating, a mech does not. If something goes wrong there is a strong chance it will go boom, either in your hand or in your face, especially when using lithium batteries. It’s not the battery’s fault, it just does what it’s supposed to do under the circumstances.
I don’t want to make the same mistake Evan’s sister and WINK News made when they decided to pin the incident on e-cigarettes, so I’m not going to accuse the poor man of anything. It’s too early to tell what exactly happened. There is an investigation under way and it’s only fair that we should wait for its results.
It’s a shame though that this kind of news will likely push smokers contemplating the idea of switching to vaping away from e-cigarettes, and probably even casual vapers back to smoking. And all because of biased reporting of a tragic incident.