- A vape pen exploded in the mouth of a 17-year-old Nevada teen, leaving him with a fractured jaw, missing teeth, and a hole in his chin.
- Kailani Burton bought her son, Austin Adams, now 18, a vaping kit in hopes of kicking his smoking habit.
- Dr. Katie Russell, the trauma medical director at Primary Children’s Hospital who treated Adams, said she was compelled to share Adams’ case to raise awareness for the dangers of e-cigarettes.
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A vape pen exploded in the mouth of a 17-year-old Nevada teen, leaving him with a fractured jaw, missing teeth, and a hole in his chin.
In March of last year, Kailani Burton bought her son, Austin Adams, now 18, a vaping kit in hopes of kicking his smoking habit. After the vape pen exploded during use, Adams sustained multiple injuries, according to a case published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“My other son came running in and he said, ‘It exploded, it exploded,'” Burton said in an interview. “[Austin] had his hand over his mouth, and he was bleeding.
“I just looked at him and said, ‘Get in the car.'”
Burton, who lives with her family in a rural part of Nevada, said she drove her son to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, over 200 miles away, as it was the nearest hospital she knew that could treat his injuries. They arrived at 1:30 a.m., she said.
Dr. Katie Russell, the trauma medical director at Primary Children’s Hospital who treated Adams, said she had never seen a case like this before.
“I had no idea that a vape pen could cause this major of an injury, because it takes some serious force to break your jaw,” Russell said in an interview, who also co-authored the medical case published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Since the incident last year, she said she knows of at least 40 other case reports where vape pens injure their users.
Dr. Jonathan Skirko, the surgeon who treated Adams, wrote in an email that the teen required surgery “to remove devitalized tissue at the gum line and the lacerations were closed. The bone that usually supports the teeth was put back into alignment. The load-bearing jaw bone was realigned and held in place with titanium screws. He had an exit wound from shrapnel under the chin that was repaired.”
Burton said she reached out to VGOD after the incident occurred, and a representative told her to send back the exploded vape and made her feel “bad” about giving a vape to her underage son.
“I do remember somebody making me feel bad,” Burton said. “I remember someone telling me he was under the age, and I just felt really bad after that.”
INSIDER emailed VGOD for a statement but received no response at the time of publication.
Russell said she was compelled to share Adams’ case in an effort to make the public more aware of the dangers of e-cigarettes as they become “more common on the market.”
“I don’t think we’ve adequately educated the public about the consequences,” Russell said. “As a pediatric surgeon, I’m really focusing on children, and I think that there are millions of children that have access to these devices.
“Not only is nicotine detrimental to a developing brain, but also there’s a chance that these things can explode and cause serious harm.”
Burton said she hopes the incident will encourage parents to be more mindful when allowing their children to use e-cigarettes.
“I want parents to know how dangerous it is for their kids,” Burton said. “It could’ve killed him. It could’ve been worse.”