A California man is recovering after an e-cigarette he was smoking exploded, causing the him to lose sight in his left eye.
Joe Cavins says he was working in his home office last month when the battery inside the vaporizer blew up, sending burning material across his face and into his eye.
“Bam! There was this very loud noise and I felt like I’d been hit with maybe a baseball bat or hockey stick,” Cavins told KNBC.
The e-cigarette was resting on his desk when the accident occurred. The explosion caused a fire on his computer, and was powerful enough to leave debris on the ceiling.
“If I’d hand that in my hand or mouth when that went off – I mean oh my God. I don’t know,” said Cavin. “I mean I’m grateful it wasn’t worse.”
Cavins’ wife put out the fire and rushed him to hospital.
The explosion smashed his orbital and sinus bones and left pieces of the e-cigarette lodged in his eyeball, he said.
Doctors were able to save some of the muscles in his eye, and will need to perform more surgeries, but Cavin is not expected to regain use of his left eye.
“This is becoming all too common, and it’s now a national problem,” Greg Bentley, attorney for Cavins, told KABC.
Despite the FDA’s announcement last week to increase regulation over the amount of nicotine inside e-cigarettes, and the batteries they use, Bentley doesn’t believe it’s enough.
“They need to regulate the manufacturing of the components and parts as it relates to the safety of the industry,” Bentley said. “The regulations don’t go far enough.”
Cavins and his lawyers plan to file a lawsuit against the store where he bought the batteries.
Reports of e-cigarette-related injuries have been on the rise in the past couple of years, including a Lethbridge, Alta., teen who was left with first- and second-degree burns on his face after a vaporizer blew up in his face in January.
Caught on Camera: E-cigarette explodes inside man’s pants at Kentucky gas station
In February, a Kentucky man was also taken to hospital with severe burns to his leg after an e-cigarette blew up inside his pants pocket.
READ MORE: Health Canada slow to regulate e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes remain unregulated in Canada, and vaporizers containing nicotine have yet to be approved for sale.
Seven provinces (B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, N.S., and P.E.I.) have adopted their own legislation to regulate e-cigarettes, including restricting their use in public spaces and workplaces, and by restricting the sale to minors.