Electronic cigarette explodes

Posted: February 16, 2012

PENSACOLA, FLA. - A Florida man trying to kick the smoking habit was puffing on an electronic cigarette when a faulty battery caused it to explode in his mouth, taking out some of his front teeth and a chunk of his tongue and severely burning his face, fire officials said yesterday.

"The best analogy is like it was trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off," said Joseph Parker, division chief for the North Bay Fire Department. "The battery flew out of the tube and set the closet on fire."

Fire Chief Joseph Miller said the victim contacted the department yesterday to thank firefighters and told them he was recovering at a hospital in Mobile, Ala.

A Facebook page under the name of Tom Holloway of Niceville was filled with well-wishers commenting on the injury.

Holloway was in his office at home when the device exploded, leaving behind burned carpet, chair cushions, pictures and office equipment.

Investigators don't know the brand of cigarette, type of battery or age of the device, Parker said.

Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said the industry knows of no problems with the cigarettes or batteries exploding.

The industry does not claim electronic cigarettes allow smokers to kick the habit, just that they are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes because they have fewer chemicals, Kiklas said.

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