He Sought Help With His Vape Pen. Then It Killed Him

Texas' William Brown died 2 days after his mechanical vape mod exploded
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2019 1:05 PM CST

(Newser) – A second American has lost his life to a vape pen. William Eric Brown died Jan. 29, two days after he suffered a vape pen explosion in the parking lot of Smoke and Vape DZ shop in Fort Worth, Texas. The manager, who called 911, said the 24-year-old had been seeking help with a Mechanical Mod vape pen, which the shop doesn't sell because of what CBS DFW calls known "issues." (Pens known as mechanical vape mods allow for more intense vaping as they aren't regulated by a circuit board, but they are much more dangerous to use.) The device then exploded in Brown's face as he tried to use it in his grandmother's car, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; he crawled out of the car and collapsed on the pavement. The medical examiner's report states a fragment of the pen severed Brown's left carotid artery, cutting blood flow to his brain, per WFAA. His cause of death was listed as penetrating trauma from an exploding vaporizer pen.

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Alice Brown says she was told her grandson suffered a stroke. Brown was put in a medically induced coma, and the elder Brown is faulting doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital for not removing shrapnel from the 24-year-old's throat. She adds an investigator told her the device's lithium ion battery was the problem. Mechanical Mod vape pens lack certain safety features and the company states that "when you are in the very beginning stages of vaping, we don’t suggest picking a a mod"; it recommends users have a knowledge of "Ohms Ω law," among other things, first. Brown was new to vape pens but was a licensed electrician, according to his grandmother. Per the Star-Telegram, 2,035 e-cigarette burn and explosion injuries were reported to emergency rooms from 2015 to 2017. (Read about the first death.)

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