WARNING: This story contains disturbing images.
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Vape retailers in southern Alberta are upset after some say one Lethbridge man’s experience with an electronic cigarette is “bad business” for an already struggling industry.
Several pictures of 16-year-old Ty Greer reveal a charred, blackened face and shattered teeth after Ty says his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth.
A spokesperson with the United Vape Retailers Association of Alberta, representing over 60 retailers in the province, believes the recent injuries in Lethbridge were due to misuse of a device.
“I think it’s unfortunate. I don’t know the particulars of this particular case, but I understand there may have been some issues with using two completely incompatible devices, and the result of that was a short circuit in the battery,” Nicky Walker-Kobly said.
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Avid vape smokers agree with the United Vape Retailers Association, claiming it was ignorance on the user’s part.
“Unless you have a good amount of experience of understanding resistance and voltage and how the coil works, it could be dangerous,” Jon Kirby said.
Ty says he was using the e-cigarette pictured below. It was made by Wotofo, a Chinese manufacturer, and he said it was purchased at a Lethbridge store.
Ty claims he did not tamper with the device. Global News emailed the company several times, but received no response.
“The unregulated ones can be modified,” Perry Greer said. “My son never touched this one; it’s completely stocked, contrary to rumors out there that he was messing with it.”
Global News spoke to several vape retailers in Lethbridge off camera, who believed it was user error and lack of knowledge.
“The United Vape Retailers Association is dedicated to providing training, and not only staff, but any individuals who walk in the door,” Walker-Kobly said.
Health Canada said in a Wednesday statement it’s aware of the Lethbridge report, and will contact Greer and his family “and carry out any necessary additional follow up.”