Will my e-cigarette explode?
It's something new e-cigarette users sometimes worry about, usually because of the stories we've all read in the press. But is it really something we should be concerned about? As with a lot of the topics around vaping, a little perspective is always needed. For the vast majority of e-cigarette users, the risk of your device exploding is no greater than any other product that use rechargeable lithium batteries like cell phones and laptops. What we are talking about really is the potential dangers of the high-powered batteries that our vaping devices use.
When charged, handled and used properly vape batteries pose very little danger, however any device using these types of batteries can go wrong and they must be treated with the care and respect they deserve. There's a lot to cover in this blog, but let’s start by outlining the differences between two general types of vaping devices.
Regulated Vaping Devices and Mechanical Vaping Devices
Most e-cigarettes and all the vaping devices sold by My Vape Box, fall into the “regulated” category. Any e-cigarettes with a screen, adjustable power, or any built-in safety features are considered regulated devices, even basic pen-type devices have short circuit protection and other circuitry to prevent anything going wrong. It is highly unlikely that these types of e-cigarettes would explode or catch fire. As with any electronic device there is always a chance that something could fail internally from either a manufacturing fault or damage from dropping it. We all know that it's possible for televisions, mobile phones and household items to have these kinds of faults that can caused dangerous failures, but it is extremely rare. But if you buy a well-made e-cigarette from a well regarded manufacturer then it really isn't something you should be worrying about.
Mechanical e-cigarette devices known as 'Mech mods' are different to regulated ones. They don't have any of the electronic protection of a regulated device. So unless you know exactly what you are doing and fully understand the potential dangers and risks then you should not be using a mechanical device. They really are a whole other subject of discussion and there's too much to go into here, but they are not recommended and present a whole other range of dangers that don't apply to regulated devices and most e-cigarette users.
Fires in the home
Traditional cigarette smoking is a major cause of house fires in the UK and the single most common cause of fire fatalities according to the London Fire Brigade. 26.1% of fire deaths are smoking-related and on their website, they even mention switching to vaping as a good idea to reduce that risk.
“For smokers who aren't ready to quit yet, e-cigarettes (vapes) are a better option from a fire safety perspective. Dropping a vape on a carpet, duvet or armchair won't start a fire. So if quitting completely isn't on the cards, it's a simple swap that can save lives”
The simple fact is all these tragic house fires and deaths linked to smoking do not generate the same headlines as a single faulty e-cigarette that caught fire while charging. Fire services have reported being called out to a small number of fires caused by e-cigarettes and they are almost always a result of using the wrong charger, over-charging the battery, incorrectly storing batteries or using a very poor-quality unbranded device.
Battery and charging safety
Don't use a cheap £2 charger, use a high-quality USB wall plug and cable or quality battery charger for removable cells. Chargers can develop faults and go wrong too, so get the best one you can afford. Don't leave your e-cigarette or batteries charging over night or out of view, while the risk is low, if anything did go wrong it would be better to be on hand to deal with it than not. When your e-cigarette or battery is fully charged remove it from the charger, your device or charger should shut down when fully charged but to remove the risks associated with over-charging, it's always best to stop charging by unplugging.
If your e-cigarette uses removable batteries then make sure the cells themselves are in perfect condition and spares are always stored safely in a plastic battery box specifically designed for the purpose, they can be bought for as little as a pound. Do not use batteries with any damage at all, this includes the protective wrapping which must be fully intact and undamaged.
The batteries used in almost all vaping devices, built in ones or removable ones, are high powered cells. They are the same types of batteries used in power tools and other applications where a lot of power is required. You may have read the story of a man whose spare e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket or seen the video on YouTube. In this case it wasn't an e-cigarette exploding, it was a high powered cell exploding that he was carrying loose in his pocket along with keys, coins and other metal objects that created a dead short across the battery terminals. Under these conditions a battery can heat up to the point that it will explode but this is not 'normal' use and is easily preventable.
10 tips for e-cigarette battery safety
If you are using a regulated vaping device from a well-known manufacturer then the chances of your e-cigarette exploding or catching fire is extremely low. But we can still take measures to lessen any risks.
- Charge with a high-quality charger and don't leave unattended.
- Remove from charger when fully charged.
- Keep it clean, dry and in good condition.
- Store and carry removable batteries in a purpose made battery box.
- Use a quality e-cigarette from a trusted brand.
- If using removable batteries, make sure they are suitable for the device.
- When carrying your e-cigarette in a pocket or bag turn it off or put in in a 'locked' state where it cannot be fired accidentally.
- If you notice your device doing anything out of the ordinary, then stop using it. It may have developed a fault that could be dangerous.
- Don't use 'Mech Mods' unless you have a lot of experience in vaping hardware, ohms law, high powered batteries and fully understand how your device works and how to use it with minimal risk.
- Look after your vaping equipment and it will look after you.