Man left with horrific burns after e-cigarette explosion | AMA (WA)


Vaping burn victim_pre surgery

Man left with horrific burns after e-cigarette explosion

Monday May 22, 2023

A West Australian man has been left with horrific burns after his vaping equipment exploded and caught fire in his pocket. He is now warning others about the risks of vaping.

The 40-year-old needed skin grafts and a two-week hospital stay after sustaining burns to 7 per cent of his total body surface area.

“Although the burns team were fantastic, burns is a horrific and terrifying experience,” the man said.

“100 per cent don’t start vaping in the first place; it was the worst thing I ever did.

“To all the kids out there, look at what happened to me; respect yourself, respect your life.”

The AMA (WA) supports the recent intervention by the Federal Government on e-cigarettes, with plain packaging and a ban on flavours to be introduced, to make the products less attractive to users, particularly young adults and children.

As reported in The West Australian, one in six teenagers aged 14-17 has used vapes in Australia, compared with one in four in the 18-24 age group.

By contrast, only one in 70 people aged in their 50s has tried the product. AMA (WA) President Dr Mark Duncan-Smith, a burns surgeon who treated the man, said vaping was the new nicotine business delivery model of big tobacco.

“It is absolutely necessary that we protect our children from nicotine addiction and the health dangers of vaping,” he said.

“The AMA has lobbied for changes in the regulation of vaping and welcomes these changes.”

When tested, two-thirds of non-nicotine vapes actually contained nicotine. Vapes also contain poisonous chemicals and known carcinogens.

“If you’re a parent out there with a high school child and you don’t think that your child has tried vapes, there’s a one in seven chance that they have tried vaping,” Dr Duncan-Smith said.

“Non-smokers who vape are three times more likely to take up cigarettes. It is essential that we protect our children from nicotine addiction and the dangers of vapes. The AMA (WA) recognises the strength and foresight of Health Minister Mark Butler in making these changes.”



  • Since 2016 the rate of children and young people using e-cigarettes has grown rapidly.
  • Some vaping products can contain 50 x more nicotine than a cigarette.
  • Nicotine-free vaping products contain harmful chemicals, some of the same chemicals used in nail polish remover, weed killer and insecticide.
  • Vaping is linked to serious lung disease and some chemicals in vapes are carcinogenic.
  • A review by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) highlighted the increased risk of poisoning, seizures and lung injury.
  • Vaping leads to smoking. An Australian National University (ANU) study showed that using e- cigarettes triples the likelihood of taking up conventional smoking.

(E-cigarettes ‘gateway’ to smoking for non-smokers


  • According to an ABC report, the sale of nicotine vapes and e-cigarettes without a prescription has been illegal in WA for several years, but not a single retailer has been fined in the past 12 months. This was despite more than 24,000 illegal vapes being seized during that period and the Health Department writing to 3,000 retailers in August last year to place them “on notice”.