D’Elia’s autopsy report, which was released last week, showed that the vape pen exploded, started a house fire and sent projectiles into his skull. He died of a “projectile wound of head” in his cranium. He also had burns on about 80 percent of his body.
D’Elia used a mod pen, which is a vape that can be customized, distributed by Smok-E Mountain. The mod pen was manufactured in the Philippines. A spokesperson for Smok-E mountain told ABC affiliate WFTS that the issue most likely stemmed from the atomizer (the piece of the vape you put in your mouth) or the battery.
A U.S. Fire Administration report from 2016 counts 195 incidents stemming from e-cigarettes exploding or catching on fire from 2009 to 2016. Those incidents resulted in 133 injuries, 38 of which were classified as severe.
This report cited no deaths as a result from vape pens, which is why D’Elia’s is considered to be the first. The study also notes that there has also been one death recorded in the United Kingdom in an August 2014 incident in which “an e-cigarette that was being charged in a non-manufacturer approved device exploded and ignited nearby oxygen equipment.”
In fact, vaping caused so many accidents on military ships and with equipment that the U.S. Navy completely banned vaping.
The U.S. Fire Administration further points out that there are currently no regulations regarding the safety of e-cigarette batteries and components.
In related news, a study out of Johns Hopkins University found that vaping might be exposing people to toxic metals and carcinogens including chromium, lead, and arsenic.