E-cigs causing popcorn lung to vaping being as harmful as smoking tobacco, we've discussed numerous vaping myths here at Vapour2 over the months, overturning the wildest of whispers and naysayers nonsense. Yet, what about the suggestion that e-cigarettes can explode? Fact or fiction - let's find out more.
Do E-cigarettes Explode?
E-Cigarettes, as the name suggests, are electronic, which means they have a relative amount of electricity flowing through them either when in operation or when they are being re-charged. Like any piece of electronic equipment incorrectly assembled, mishandled or charged with the wrong voltage, it should come as no real surprise that vaporizers and e-cigs will be prone to the same kind of dangers - be it sparks or explosions. To answer the question – yes, e-cigarettes can explode. However, this will only happen in an instance that the due care and attention that should be given to an e-cig are overlooked.
Like all small, portable electronic devices, be that your phone, a torch, or your headphones, vape devices have to undergo strict electrical safety standards to be sold legally, though it is important to note that different countries and regions will have different standards and requirements. You should always make sure that you’re buying your devices and parts from a trusted seller and renowned brand that you know you can trust, to reduce the likelihood of any electrical faults which might lead to shocks, sparks or explosions.
You may have seen in the media, sensational stories of unfortunate folks who have fallen victim to exploding vaporizers and e-cigarettes. Whether stories of wounds from the spontaneous combustion of an e-cig or the suspected source of a house fire, the most common reason for this will ultimately be a reaction by the lithium in the e-cig battery. Mishandled or charged incorrectly may result in an unfortunate event of the e-cig battery exploding, which is why you should always use the correct charger to charge your vape pen and avoid carrying e-cigarette batteries loose in the pocket.
Lithium-Ion Battery Care
More often than any other reason, explosions or fires caused by vapes are caused by the batteries within them. Lithium-ion batteries are, largely, very safe to use, which is why they are so popular for use in all kinds of rechargeable devices like vapes, as well as in mobile phones and laptops. Overall, they’re pretty durable, but there are a few things you can do to make sure they aren’t damaged and last for as long as possible. The most significant thing you do to improve the safety and life of your batteries is to make sure they don’t get too hot. Keeping them in the car on a hot day or a sunny windowsill in your office is a surefire way to reduce the lifespan of batteries and potentially compromise their safety, and make sure to avoid them getting wet, either through water or condensation in damp areas. Lithium ion batteries can also be damaged in pressurised environments like planes, which is why there are so many restrictions on taking vape devices on a plane. As well as these precautions, keeping them at room temperature as much as possible is good for your batteries, and try not to fully charge or discharge your batteries. Ideally, you’ll let them get to around 20% before recharging, and don’t leave your vape on charge indefinitely, overnight or unattended. It might seem counterintuitive, but you’ll actually get more power out of it this way.
Most importantly, only ever use the charger for your vape with your vape. It can be tempting to pick up another USB charger, like the one for your phone or tablet, and simply charge your vape with that, but this is another way you can damage your battery. Always only use the charger that came with your vape.
Batteries, even rechargeable ones, don’t last forever, even if you’re not using them! Old batteries or batteries that you haven’t used for a very long time are a little bit more volatile and simply won’t work as well, whether that’s poor recharging time, low performance or other issues. When charged properly, there is only a one in 10 million chance of your lithium ion battery exploding - that’s a chance of about 0.0000001%.
And, of course, if you notice anything out of the ordinary for your battery - any warping, bloating, leaks, dirt, cracks, rusting, corrosion, peeling wrap or anything else that doesn’t seem right, stop using it immediately.
Fires Caused by E-Cigarettes
Figures published by the National Fire Chiefs Council reported the number of fires caused by e-cigarettes to be 113. In comparison, over 16,000 fires were attributed to cigarettes in the same three-year period, which means that while the number of fires caused by e-cigarettes is a sad fact, the stark contrast clearly shows that vaping is significantly safer than smoking. When smoking cigarettes, an open flame is used to light up, and the tobacco gently combusts to make the smoke. In e-cigarettes and vapes, there are no flames and no combustion, as the e-liquid is heated to vapour, rather than made into smoke. This means that there is very little chance of the e-liquid catching fire or the coil (heating element) getting hot enough to combust.
Coupled with Public Health England's evidence that vaping e-cigarettes can be up to 95% less harmful than smoking, it should seem fairly obvious that if you are still smoking, vaping will provide you with the potential of a safe and healthy future. If you’re looking to quit smoking, vaping can be a fantastic method to help you reduce your cigarette consumption and eventually stop smoking altogether. We offer a wide range of very beginner-friendly and easy-to-use vape devices to new vapers to help them get into the world of vaping safely and simply. If you’re worried about staying safe while vaping, our team of vaping experts are always happy to help and share their advice and guidance for getting the most out of your new vape.
Safety Features you can Find in Vape Devices
Fortunately, to minimise the incidences of vape malfunctions causing fires or explosions there are plenty of safety features and devices that have been implemented on the majority of modern devices, from small beginner sets all the way to large vape mods. These are things like firing button locks, to make sure your button activated vape isn’t being pressed and inadvertently setting your vape off for extended periods of time, or vent holes to prevent overheating and keep your batteries working well. If you’re worried about your vape being activated when you aren’t using it, you can consider a draw-activated device, which only fires when air flows through the device. This makes it far less likely to be turned on by accident.
The vast majority of beginner vapes have the battery built-in, so you don’t have to worry about choosing an appropriate battery, but when you move into intermediate or advanced vaping, it might be something you need to think about. When buying a battery for your mod vape, make sure it is a compatible model with your device, or if you need to buy batteries separately, make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions on which batteries are right for your device. Not powerful enough and you won’t get the best performance from your vape, too powerful and you run the risk of damaging your vape and your batteries, which is where accidents can happen.
Advanced vapers looking to create their own mod devices, experiment with coils or adapt existing devices to fit their needs in the best way possible. There are certain risks involved with using rebuildable devices, especially if you don’t have a strong background in electronics and engineering. Rebuildable vapes can be a great way to fit your needs, but there are also lots of different factors that go into a rebuildable vape and it can be a bit of a task to make sure they are all safe to use, properly installed and compatible with each other. However, rebuildables are generally only the territory of very advanced vapers, so for most of us, this isn’t something you need to worry about, and most users of rebuildables will be highly experienced in the world of vaping already.
E-Cig Safety Tips
As we've mentioned, the result of an exploding e-cig or vape pen will typically be down to several factors such as faulty equipment or incorrect storage. Here's how to avoid any mishaps and vape safely.
1. Firstly, read the instruction manual of your device.
2. Use the appropriate charger that accompanied your device at the point of purchase.
3. Always buy your e-cigarettes and equipment from a reputable seller with positive product reviews.
4. Avoid the temptation to buy cheap, imitation products that may have faulty components.
5. Never use faulty or damaged equipment.
6. Never leave your vaporizer charging for long periods of time – including bedtime.
7. Charge your device in a safe environment away from flammable goods or material.
9. Make sure you’re confident with the safety precautions and features you need to know about before going into rebuildables.
It's important to know that instances of exploding e-cigarettes are few and far between and are easily avoided should you follow the aforementioned advice. Stay safe out there and vape happy