Note: Some images in this report are graphic, and may be disturbing to some viewers.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) -- They're advertised as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, but one Northwest Arkansas man has a warning to electronic cigarette users after his exploded in his mouth.
Josh Swartz is stitched up, but out of work as he fights through the pain of healing. He says he bought his e-cigarette just two weeks ago in hopes it would help him quit smoking.
Josh says he bought a Fu Chai Mechanical Mod. "I put it to my mouth and as soon as I pressed the button on the bottom, the device exploded," Josh said.
Struggling to speak, Josh slowly explained what he says happened on Friday night.
"As soon as it exploded, I just had this intense pain and burning inside my mouth and my throat," he said.
His wife, Cindy, says she was headed to the garage to meet Josh when she heard what sounded like a gunshot and saw flames shooting from the garage.
"That's when I looked back and I found my husband bent over here in the garage and gasping for air and he couldn't even speak to me," Cindy said.
Josh suffered burns to his mouth, throat and hand, shattered teeth, and severed lips.
"It was hanging down, and this entire piece here had to be put back into place. Then there's a hole through my lip here," he explained.
The couple believes the battery is to blame. Cindy showed how the electronic cigarette broke into pieces during the explosion, turning the battery almost inside out.
They say they were never warned of possible dangers, but they hope to help change that.
"We're all just guinea pigs. Until we speak up and try to share with other people that these are dangerous and they can happen to you, then people aren't going to know," Cindy said.
The couple is meeting with a lawyer this week in hopes of recouping medical costs. They also hope this incident will lead to more regulations, including warning signs inside shops.
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