A former CNBC producer was killed when his e-cigarette exploded and lodged into his skull, penetrating his brain, according to an autopsy, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The report released Tuesday confirms the vape pen was responsible for the May 5 death of Tallmadge D'Elia in St. Petersburg.
According to FEMA, the 38-year-old's death is the first in the U.S. to be caused by a vaping pen. It still remains unclear as to what prompted the pen to combust in the first place; however, shoddy manufacturing may be an option.
FEMA recently reported that there were nearly 200 incidents involving exploding vape pens between 2000 and 2016, but D'Elia is the first person in the United States to die as a outcome. And in 2016, a vape pen user in NY suffered third-degree burns after the pen exploded in his trousers, NBC 4 NY reported.
E-cigarettes that are similar in size and shape to traditional cigarettes come with a smaller wattage unit and therefore may not have the power to fail as dramatically, said Thomas Kiklas, chief financial officer of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. But there were no recorded deaths in the study's period. At the time of his death, D'Elia was using a "mod" type of Smok-E Mountain Mech Works pen that was manufactured in the Philippines.
The report blamed the incidents on the prevalence of lithium-ion batteries in the products.
The report did not reveal a cause for the device explosion, but a representative told ABC Action News that it was likely due to an atomizer or battery issue.
Deputy fire marshal Steven Lawrence, who attended the scene, said vape pens can "become pieces of flying debris and shrapnel".
He explained: 'Any other e-cig that has a computer chip in it prevents that from happening'. The company says they've had problems with other companies cloning their batteries, which makes them less safe.