Burns surgeons are warning of the dangers of electronic cigarettes after dozens of smokers have been injured by exploding devices.
Some patients needed skin grafts after their injuries, some of which were so severe they were similar to those you would experience if you were shot in the face by a gun.
The call is being echoed by fire chiefs and trading standards experts who are joining forces to highlight the dangers to consumers tempted to buy cheap or imported vaping kits.
Plastic surgeons at Morriston Hospital’s Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery in Swansea said they had treated five patients for burns after e-cigarette batteries exploded.
“Before this year we hadn’t seen any injuries like this. Now we have had five which reflects the rising popularity of these e-cigarettes,” said consultant plastic surgeon Dai Nguyen.
Three of the patients had their devices in their trouser pockets when they exploded.
They include a 25-year-old who was paintballing at the time and a factory worker who suffered thigh and groin injuries as well as burns to his hand when he tried to extinguish the flames.
Call for tougher import regulations after safety concerns
Surgeons were so concerned they notified trading standards officers and also wrote a paper highlighting the cases and calling for tougher import regulations on e-cigarettes coming into the UK and more guidance for consumers.
“It’s not just us, this is something that is starting to be highlighted nationwide. I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” Dr Nguyen said.
“I suspect a lot of A&E departments may also be dealing with these incidents and we’re just not aware of them.”
Warning over cheap imports
Swansea Council trading standards officer David Picken urged customers not to buy cheap imported e-cigarettes.
“These chargers have not been constructed to the correct safety standards and are often counterfeit,” he said.
He said customers need to makes sure the e-cigarette is labelled correctly, check if it has a visible CE mark and ask the shop for information confirming they come from a reputable source.
Source: BBC News