Electronic cigarette explodes, killing Florida man
NEW YORK — An electronic cigarette exploded and killed a man in Florida this month, the authorities said, in what appears to be the first death attributed to vaping products in the United States.
The man, Tallmadge D’Elia, 35, was at his home in St. Petersburg, Florida on May 5 when his e-cigarette exploded, according to William Pellan, director of investigations at the medical examiner’s office for Pinellas County.
He confirmed that the cause of the accidental death was a “projectile wound to the head,” and that D’Elia had suffered burns on about 80 percent of his body. It appeared that the explosion had started a fire in the bedroom where he was found.
One of the pieces removed from his head featured the logo of Smok-E Mountain Mech Works, which is based in the Philippines.
The company’s owner did not immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment on Wednesday, but a representative told ABC Action News that its devices do not explode, adding that the problem may have stemmed from the battery.
Smok-E Mountain makes a particular type of e-cigarette called a mechanical mod.
Compared with more common types of e-cigarettes, mechanical mods typically give users more direct access to the battery and do not use inner circuitry to regulate the voltage.
According to the US Fire Administration, electronic cigarettes that use lithium-ion batteries are more prone to explosion.