There is a lot of rhetoric about the dangers of electronic cigarettes that seems to be getting a fair amount of media attention. Though you might think this refers to the claims that these chemicals present in flavoured e-liquids can cause cancer or chronic pulmonary disease (neither of which has yet to be proven), it’s actually in reference to the increasing number of reports citing exploding vaping pens.
Unlike the medical claims, occurrences of exploding vaping equipment can be substantiated – but that doesn’t mean you should do away with your vaporizer lock, stock, and barrel; it simply means you need to arm yourself with a little knowledge.
Culprit 1: Lithium-Ion Batteries
To be perfectly frank, lithium-ion batteries, the electronic cigarette’s power supply, are prone to explosion if they aren’t used within the safety range of its specifications. It’s important of course to note that this danger is not exclusive to vaping devices as some reports may lead you to believe, but to all electronics that use this type of technology.
Unbeknownst to most, lithium-ion batteries are designed to operate within a fairly narrow temperature band, between 50°F and 115°F (10°C to 46°C). Storing or operating your e-cigarette outside of that safe zone can significantly increase the chances that something will go wrong.
Manufacturers who are more interested in quantity over quality can further compromise the performance or integrity of the battery. Cheap batteries have been known to omit vital management systems, which can result in a dangerously over charged battery.
Since lithium-ion batteries are so widely used, it’s not a stretch to assume that the good ones are built well and are subjected to rigorous testing. The science that goes into developing lithium-ion batteries that are safe is exceedingly well known; meaning there is really no excuse for a manufacturer to produce an unsafe battery.
Culprit 2: Cheap Components
As the vaping industry continues to expand, so too will the number of manufacturers that emerge to feed the demand. When purchasing your device, it’s important to take it out of the box and examine it. If the parts look and feel cheap, it’s a pretty strong indication that it wasn’t built with quality in mind. Likewise, you should purchase your device from a reputable, well-known brand that has firmly established roots within the vaping community. This may cost you a bit more, but it’s a small price to pay for a bit of peace of mind.
Established brands have a reputation to maintain, so in addition to ensuring they produce a quality product, they’re much more likely to act when a problem with one of their units is reported.
Culprit 3: The Consumer’s Desire to Modify
Whether it’s to produce larger plumes of vapour or increase the unit’s variable voltage, many within the vaping community can’t help but want to tweak and customize their devices. It goes without saying that in so doing users are increasing the risk of an explosion.
By and large, the public’s safety considerations have been concerned with the safety of the liquid, and not with the devices themselves. With the implementation of industry regulations covering both the liquid and the device, there will be an established standard that will make both components much safer to use.
Until such a time of industry regulation occurs, consumers will have to exercise sound judgment while using their devices.
With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that even if your vaping device is powered by a low quality battery, its been modified, and you store it in extreme temperatures, the fact that it will explode is by no means a forgone conclusion. Though the number of reports involving an exploding e-cigarette are on the rise, the odds that you’ll experience an exploding device in your lifetime is slim to none.
Having said that, failing to take steps to protect yourself in the off chance that something should happen just seems irresponsible. To that end, here’s a summary what you can do to mitigate the risk:
- buy a good, quality product
- use it only with recommended accessories
- use it the way it was intended to be used (that means refrain from modifying your device)