Sherman man's e-cigarette explodes while charging

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

SHERMAN, TX -- They've been touted as the 21st-century cigarette. But, one Texoma man has a warning for e-cigarette users after he says simply charging his caused it to blow up.

Sherman resident, Wes Sloan, says when he decided to kick the habit he made the switch to an electronic cigarette thinking it would be safer.

But, he says the device literally blew up in his hand, and he wants you to know just how dangerous they may actually be.

"The battery was into about a two hour charge and it exploded and shot across the room like a Roman candle," Wes Sloan said.

These are Wes Sloan's fingers after he says his electronic cigarette caught on fire, eight months ago.

"I still now today have numbness in both of those fingers," he said.

Sloan says he suffered second and third degree burns, and both he and his wife Cathy say they had to be treated for smoke inhalation

He claims he was charging his e-cig in the USB port of their Macbook. This isn't the only incident that's been reported. Just last month, a Tulsa man charging his e-cigarette the same way, says the device started a fire.

One dealer says he discourages people from using anything but the wall charger.

"A lot of people do it, a lot of people have zero problems, but do you want to take that chance?" Jeff Barnard said.

"There wasn't anything that said how long to charge it. There wasn't any warnings. It's marketed as a safe, good product. And the reason we bought the one we did is it was one of the best ones on the market and it was U.S. made," Sloan said.

Sloan contacted the retailer who sold him the device, and manufacturer, but says he's had no luck.

News 12 called the company Sloan says made this e-cigarette. They told us their legal team is looking into the matter. They say they're aware of knock-off versions of their cigarettes roaming around, and won't comment until they investigate further.

"We want to recover our losses. Most of all, we want the consumer to know that this isn't as safe a product as they market it to be," Sloan said.

Texoma Pulmonologist Dr. Don Wynn, says he and doctors around the world recommend e-cigarettes to smokers as a last resort to quit smoking. But, the FDA does not regulate e-cigs. Dr. Wynn says that's concerning, not only because of the potential injuries they could inflict, but because you may not always know what's in them.

"We don't know what the industry put in the electronic cigarettes," Dr. Wynn said. "I believe we need more research to determine whether the electronic cigarettes are harmful or helpful for patients."

As for the Sloans, they say they'll never try another.

"Every time I see someone buying one at a gas station or anywhere, I let them know that you know, be careful because they can explode," Sloan said.

Dr. Wynn wants to study the long-term effects of the e-cigs, to find out whether they actually do improve smokers' health. He needs 200 participants for the study.

If you would like more information regarding the study, contact Dr. Wynn's office at (903) 463-0003.


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