E-Cigarette Burns and Explosions: What are the Patterns of Oromaxillofacial Injury?

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2021 Aug;79(8):1723-1730. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2021.03.008. Epub 2021 Mar 29.


Purpose: With the recent increase in popularity of electronic cigarette use in the United States, its harmful effects are not only limited to smoke inhalation, but also to the possibility of e-cigarette device malfunction. The purpose of this review is to characterize oromaxillofacial trauma secondary to electronic cigarette device explosion.

Methods: For this systematic review, PubMed and Embase were searched in October 2019 using the following search terms: e-cigarette burns, e-cigarette injury, and e-cigarette explosions, which yielded 400 studies. Basic science research, animal studies, non-English studies, and reports of non-oromaxillofacial injuries were excluded. Study subject demographics, mechanism of trauma, injury type, treatment, and sequelae were recorded and analyzed.

Results: Of all studies, 20 studies met inclusion criteria, including 14 case reports and 6 case series, with a total of 21 study subjects. For cases that reported sex, 100% were male (20) with a mean age of 29.5 years. Most common lacerations and/or burns involved the lips (10/21), tongue (8/21), soft palate and/or hard palate (4/21), and nose (5/21). Thirteen subjects underwent surgeries including oral-maxillofacial surgery or dental implants (7/13), bone graft repair (3/13), open reduction and internal fixation for preservation of sinus outflow tracts (2/13), foreign body removal from the cervical spine (1/13), and iridectomy (1/13). Reported complications included bone loss secondary to traumatic fracture, tinnitus and hearing loss, lip paralysis secondary to persistent edema, major depressive disorder/ post-traumatic stress disorder, persistent sinusitis, photophobia, and bilateral axillary and hand contractures.

Conclusions: Electronic cigarette device malfunction and explosion carries great risk for acute oromaxillofacial trauma that may be disfiguring. With the increasing popularity of electronic cigarette use, clinicians and patients should be advised regarding dangers of electronic cigarette use.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns*
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Depressive Disorder, Major*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Explosions
  • Humans
  • Male