You’re probably reading this article because you’ve read a story (or several for that matter) about an e-cigarette that blew up in a guy’s face…or in his pants, or while he was charging it in his car. You’re also probably wondering what kind of e-cig it was since it must have been one of those that came with a faulty battery.
Those sensational news stories, while morbidly graphic, rarely mention details about the e-cigarette used. Ever wonder why not? Aside from the lesser fact that it doesn’t sell headlines, a story targeting a manufacturer can get messy, as it might not be the brand of the e-cigarette at fault, but the fact that lithium batteries (including those in your laptop, tablet or cell phone) can explode under rare and unusual conditions.
What Kind of E-Cigarette Batteries Can Explode?
There are two different types of battery technologies used in vapor products: lithium polymer and lithium-ion. Both are capable of thermal runaway – an uncontrolled thermal temperature. There’s some debate about which is “safer”, but lithium polymer batteries are rarely used in e-cigarettes so when you hear those news stories about exploding e-cigarette batteries, what you are hearing about are lithium-ion batteries.
How Likely is it That My E-cigarette Battery will Explode?
The answer is “not at all likely”; however, buying low-quality vapor products or tinkering with batteries greatly increase the likelihood that your e-cigarette will blow up. If you are using a high-quality device responsibly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you don’t have to worry about your e-cig exploding or catching fire.
- Use the charger that came with you e-cig kit. It’s designed to deliver a certain level of electrical current. If the battery being charged is not capable of handling the level of current produced by the charger, you’ll get a greater risk of explosion.
- Don’t carry your e-cig battery in your pocket alongside metal keys or other metal objects. In rare cases, movement causes friction which completes a circuit between the positive and negative ends resulting in a possible catastrophic failure or explosion.
- Never modify a battery or use damage batteries. Follow-up stories about exploding batteries revealed that the user modified the battery or used the incorrect charger.
The US Fire Administration ultimately concluded:
“Considering the vast number of products in the field that use lithium-ion batteries, however, it is clear that the failure rates are low.”
Recent data (Nov. 9th, 2015) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than 9 million adults vape regularly in the United States.
The chance of an e-cigarette exploding while you’re using it is roughly 0.0000001%.
Your chance of dying from a smoking related disease is 50%.
Still….Is Vaping Safe?
Safe compared to what? Crossing the road? Sunbathing? Public Health England (PHE) concluded that e-cigarettes were at least 95 percent and as much as 99 percent healthier than combustible cigarettes.
What we do know is that the best vaping products are heavily focused on safety as well as user satisfaction, especially now that public health agencies are issuing regulations.
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