Man killed after vape pen explodes

The US has seen its first e-cigarette death.
The US has seen its first e-cigarette death. Photo credit: Getty

A Florida man has died after his vape pen exploded in what's believed to be the first e-cigarette casualty in the United States.

Tallmadge D'Elia, 38, was found dead in his family home on May 5 in a bedroom which was on fire, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The autopsy report, released this week, listed the cause of death as "projectile wound of head". It says Mr D'Elia's e-cigarette exploded, sending at least two fragments into his skull.

The explosion caused a small fire which left the man with burns on roughly 80 percent of his body.

The vape pen was from the brand Smok-E Mountain, whose unregulated products are made in the Philippines and don't have safety features to prevent them from overheating.

Smok-E Mountain told ABC Action News that the explosion was likely due to problems with the vape pen's atomiser or battery. The company claims other business have cloned their batteries in the past, resulting in less safe products.

According to a report by the US Fire Administration, there were at least 195 cases of e-cigarettes exploding or catching fire in the US between 2009 and 2016. However Mr D'Elia is believed to be the first person to die from an e-cigarette malfunction.

The report says lithium-ion batteries are to blame for e-cigarette explosions.

"No other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in such close proximity to the human body," it read.

"It is this intimate contact between the body and the battery that is most responsible for the severity of the injuries that have been seen."