GRAPHIC: Mom warns against vape pen after one explodes, leaving son with shattered jaw

Updated: Nov. 14, 2018 at 10:04 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A mother has a warning about vape pens after one exploded in her son’s mouth, breaking his jaw in three places and knocking out many of his teeth.

Mailan Krein told her 21-year-old son Christopher she didn’t like him smoking anymore. So he picked up vaping to try and cut back on the habit. But one day in August, when Krein was at work, she got a call from her husband.

“He said you have to get to ER Oschner. Christopher’s face blew up,” said Krein.

Christopher was rushed to the hospital where they would find out his jaw was broken in three places, shards were lodged throughout his mouth and he had lost most of his teeth.

“He had an IV in there, the doctor was trying to control the bleeding, there was blood everywhere, and all I could think to ask him was, ‘Do you still have your tongue?’ And he nodded yes,” Krein said. "I couldn’t even look at him because it made me sick to my stomach. That’s my baby.”

Christopher told his mother he was getting ready for work and sat down on the couch with his vape pen when he heard a loud noise.

“He said it was like a shotgun that went off in his mouth,” said Krein.

Blaming the vape pen for the accident, Krein said her son now only has a few molars as they wait on reconstructive surgery. He’s lost weight since he can only ingest liquids, and she said he goes through periods of depression.

“It’s still shocking to me talking about it. I’m visualizing what my son is going through. He has several years to reconstruct his mouth,” said Krein.

Christopher was using the vape pen brand called VGod. According to the company’s website, they warn against batteries that can fail and spark. In a statement, the Louisiana Vaping Association said it’s hard to know exactly what caused this accident, but said they’re most commonly the result of a corrupted or misused battery. Krein said they’ve since retained an attorney, and their family is now facing hospital bills as high as $300,000.

She knows the accident could have been worse, and she’s warning parents of the danger her family has experienced firsthand.

“For me, when I saw my son I wanted to die. I wanted to take his pain away from him. It gives me the chills talking about it now. It doesn’t matter if it’s your baby or your oldest - to see something like that happen and then for him to not even talk or swallow, and all that pain going through him, I don’t want any parents to have to go through that,” Krein said.

Krein said they’ve also started a GoFundMe account to help with Christopher’s hospital bills.

The Louisiana Vaping Association’s statement is as follows:

Though instances like this are incredibly infrequent, they are most commonly the result of a corrupted or misused battery; however, without knowing specifics it's hard to tell what may have happened.

According to their website, the VGod brand markets its devices as being for advanced users.

One of the key tenets of the Louisiana Vaping Association is education. Member businesses of the association strive to educate customers on the safe use of batteries and vaping devices.

We hope to monitor this situation and continue to educate Louisiana vapor businesses and the public to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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