WAGGA woman Leonie Whittaker has learned, to her cost, just how dangerous cigarette lighters can be. She is currently recovering from third-degree burns to her face, neck and hands after the lighter she was using exploded. Seeing first-hand the pain she is going through, her father Edward Gallagher has issued a strong warning to smokers - "Be careful of lighters."At 1.30pm on Wednesday, August 11, Ms Whittaker went to light a cigarette in her car.The lighter exploded, setting alight her face, hair and car. In a moment of panic she beat out the flames with her hands. As adrenaline surged through her body, she didn't realise how bad her injuries were until 10.30pm when she attended Wagga Base Hospital's emergency department (ED) for the second time. "At about 3pm she went to the hospital, but there were too many people there. Instead of waiting she decided to go home."At the burns unit in Sydney, they said victims don't feel for about six hours in order to deal with the pain," Mr Gallagher said. Nine hours after the incident she attended the ED again in extreme pain and was airlifted to Sydney's Concord Hospital for specialist treatment. Since her arrival she has had skin grafts to her hands and will require future surgery. "Luckily they believe her face will be OK," Mr Gallagher said. "She will be there for about another three weeks then the doctors will let (local) doctors know what needs to be done to keep (her burns) safe."Director of Wagga Base Hospital ED Dr Shane Curran said the best thing anyone can do when burned is to start first aid straight away."Run the affected area under running cold tap water for 20 minutes. The aim of this is to reduce the heat in the burn."Iced water should not be used as it limits the blood supply and makes it worse."If someone believes it is important enough to come to hospital, they should be assessed by triage nurses regardless of how many people are in the waiting room," he said. Triage nurses are emergency nurses able to identify and initiate treatment of people with serious injuries. Anyone who receives facial burns needs to seek urgent medical attention.