A Perth man has sustained third-degree burns on his arms and legs after a vape reportedly caught fire in his pocket.
The horrific injury left the 40-year-old needing skin grafts to help repair the damage caused by the burns while enduring a two-week hospital stay.
Dr Mark Duncan-Smith, Australian Medical Association (AMA) President said “the vape basically exploded” as he warned against the potential dangers of the increasingly popular devices.
“He sustained the burns to seven per cent [of his] total body surface area … He required operations, he required two weeks in hospital and he described it certainly as an experience he would not recommend to any other,” he said.
He now faces up to a year of treatment to fully recover, 7News reported.
Calls for government to ‘protect’ children from vaping
The Australian Medical Association is calling for more to be done to stop or limit the sale and supply of vapes, especially to children.
“Vaping is being specifically targeted towards our children and they need to be protected by us as a society and by government by ensuring that the maximum fines are applied to people that sell these illegally,” Dr Duncan-Smith told Nine News.
The sale of nicotine vapes and e-cigarettes without a prescription has been banned for several years in WA. The same rule applies across other states and territories in Australia. Vape detectors are also being trialled in WA schools.
But Dr Duncan-Smith is calling on the WA government to introduce harsher penalties across the state.
“It doesn’t appear the McGowan Government is going far enough to protect our children. My understanding is the number of fines issued regarding illegal selling of vapes is zero, despite many infringements being issued,” he said, 7News reported.
Australia’s plan to ban recreational vaping
Earlier this month, the Australian government announced plans to ban recreational vaping with Health Minister Mark Butler describing vaping as the biggest behavioural issue in high schools.
“Big Tobacco has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging, added sweet flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts,” he said. “Young vapers are three times as likely to take up smoking, so it is no wonder that under-25’s are the only cohort in our population that are seeing smoking rates actually increase.”
Under the new rules, vapes will be sold only in pharmacies and require “pharmaceutical-type” packaging. Disposable vapes popular with young people will also be banned. The government will spend $234 million on stronger regulations on e-cigarettes and vapes.
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