An emerging public health concern: e-cigarettes and burns

Dr Jason Diab1, Ms Vanessa Diab2

1Women And Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, Australia, 2University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia


Background:E-cigarette use is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. Since their invention in 2003, the growing trend amongst the youth has been well documented; also, the increase in spontaneous combustion of e-cigarettes from lithium powered devices resulting in variable patterns of burns is increasing.
Method:A comprehensive review of the medical literature across search engines highlighted many case reports. Furthermore, documented media reports of these cases and health journals requesting regulation was researched.
Discussion:Global series case reports highlight the mixed partial and full thickness burns from spontaenous combustion. Albeit a revolutionary product in harm reduction, the increase in burn reports suggests reflection on regulation, manufacturing standards and safety evaluation. The data encourages an increased awareness among healthcare providers, consumers and the general public of the potential risks associated with e-cigarette use. A need for better understanding of the hazards associated with e-cigarette use is recommended to better inform the population, particularly with respect to the youth.


Jason is a paediatric plastic craniofacial registrar with an interest in reconstructive surgery and burns.

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