Alarming reports of ecigarettes and vapes exploding or catching fire have been circulating online for some time, and many people wonder if it’s something they need to worry about.
If you’re worried about the safety of yourself or loved ones, the good news is that ecigarette explosions are extremely rare, and the chance of it happening to someone you know is exceedingly slim. The second thing you need to know is that, with proper care, a good quality ecigarette or vape pen is no more dangerous than most other handheld electronic devices.
This guide will help you understand what causes ecigarette explosions and how to avoid them. We’ll give you tips for choosing a safe device, handling it properly, and taking precautionary measures so you can vape without any worry.
The Culprit: Lithium Batteries
It’s important to put ecigarette failures in context and understand that it is the battery, not the ecigarette itself, that actually explodes or catches fire.
Many in the media have taken reports of ecigarette battery failures and jumped to conclusions such as: “does this mean vaping isn’t safe after all?” In reality, however, it has nothing to do with the safety of vaping itself, but with battery quality and maintenance. You can find lithium batteries in nearly all handheld electronics, including cell phones, and they all carry a small risk of the battery failing and exploding. It’s not a question of whether ecigarettes themselves are safe, but whether or not the battery in your vaping device is in good shape and well cared for.
Open this in UX Builder to add and edit contentBut with more than 9 million people vaping on a regular basis in the US, a handful of battery failures is just a miniscule percentage of the total number of vapes and ecigarettes people use daily. A small percentage of battery failures is inevitable, but it’s a very low, reasonable risk considering the millions of functional, non-exploding devices out there. The number of people who carry cell phones in their pocket and hold them next to their faces without any fear proves that risk of using lithium batteries is considered an acceptable, normal part of daily life.
But the fact still stands that many of the ecigarette explosions reported in the media could have been avoided with just a little extra caution and care. Even though the risk of getting a faulty battery to begin with always exists, there are still several easy steps you can take to lower your risk to a minimum.
1. Only use good quality ecigarettes and vaping devices from reputable manufacturers.
The best thing you can do to avoid an ecigarette explosion is to purchase a well-known, quality-controlled device from a reputable vapor product brand. Many battery explosions happen because the battery or the device it is installed in was low quality to begin with. If you purchase an overly cheap vape pen, an off-brand ecigarette, or a vape that was not manufactured in the US, you are taking the risk that the battery or vape was not designed correctly or did not go through adequate quality control.
The best way to know your device is safe is to buy a well-known brand from a trusted US retailer (such as Aspen Valley Vapes!). Read customer reviews and ask for recommendations at your local vape shop or from other vapers you trust. Always avoid going too cheap and instead spend a little extra on a reliable device that will last. If you want a safe, clean, enjoyable vaping experience, it’s definitely worth investing in a quality, higher-end device.
2. Only use the original charging cord and block that came with your device to charge your vape.
Most of the ecigarette explosions documented so far happened while the ecigarette or vape pen was charging. IEC collected all the public reports available on ecigarette explosions to investigate what kinds of situations and devices were causing the incidents, and found that the vast majority, 73%, of the explosions happened while the ecigarette was charging. Many of the other 27% of explosions that happened while the device was not plugged in could easily have happened because the device was previously overcharged, or used with an incorrect charger.
Since many ecigarettes charge via USB, many people assume it’s okay to use any USB cord or USB port to charge their vape—but this can be very dangerous. Any cord besides the one that came with your vape could overcharge your it or damage your battery, potentially causing a battery failure. The single best thing you can do to avoid an ecigarette explosion is to never use any cord except the one that came with it to charge your vape. It might be tempting to plug your vape pen into your phone charger or laptop instead of hunting down the correct charger, but no matter how convenient it might seem, it’s not worth the risk.
3. Take care of your battery and inspect it often.
If you’re someone who can’t leave home without your vape, it’s especially important to handle your vaping device with care while on the go. You might be tempted to shove it in your back pocket or toss it into your purse without a thought, but if you want to keep your device safe and in good condition, you should handle it like the fragile, expensive electronic device that it is.
Take care not to drop your ecigarette or let it knock against hard surfaces. Make sure that the battery, especially, is always protected from getting hit or scratched. You should check the battery often for any wear or damage, and replace it immediately if you notice anything off. Batteries with wrapping, especially, need to be checked often for tears and wearing.
4. Take Caution When Using Unregulated Devices
A lot of the recent media reports covering e-cig explosions relate to unregulated devices such as mechanical mods & other unregulated devices. The reason why battery failures happen with these devices is because they do not have a chip that regulates the battery inside of it. When you combine an unregulated device with someone that hasn’t been properly educated about battery safety & ohms law. This is usually the fault of the vape shop that sold the user the device, because they did not properly educate the customer about how to safely use the device.
5. Unplug your device as soon as it’s finished charging
Overcharging is one of the most common reasons for ecigarette battery failures. Although it happens most often because the vape is being used with the wrong charging cord, manufacturers still recommend that you unplug your device from the charger as soon as it’s charged all the way.
You should also never leave your vape charging unattended for long periods of time. If you leave it plugged in on its own overnight, you risk overcharging it, damaging the battery, and if the battery does happen to fail, you won’t be there to contain the damage or put it out before it causes a fire. As an extra precaution, it’s always a good idea to charge your vape on a clean, hard, inflammable surface so that if the battery does somehow fail while charging, there are no flammable objects nearby.
6. Don’t let your device overheat
If you keep your device out in the sun, in a hot car, or use it heavily in one sitting, you might have to worry about your vape or ecigarette’s battery overheating. It’s not unusual for the battery and vape to get warm during normal use, but if you notice it getting hotter than usual, or it’s burning your hand, then you should put it down and let it cool off immediately. The battery shouldn’t overheat with normal use, but it is possible if you are chain-vaping or don’t store your device in a cool place. It’s easy to avoid, though; just keep your vape out of heat and make sure to let it cool down between periods of heavy vaping.
Vaping Isn’t to Blame
So if this is primarily a problem with a battery found in many common electronics, why have ecigarettes and vapes been such a target for alarming media reports? Most likely, an e-cigarette explosion just makes a good story, and the media is known for using exaggeration and scare tactics to lure in readers. Vaping is still a relatively new and interesting topic, and lately there has been a lot of public discussion among governments, politicians, and health officials about whether vaping is safe and how it should be regulated. Put simply, ecigarettes are trendy and controversial, which makes them an easy target.