Some people hail vaping like a safer substitute for cigarettes, arguing that there’s no tobacco smoke, so it’s have got to be safer. It remains to be noticed if that’s true, and then there is some evidence that the stuff inside vapes and e-cigs is toxic. But beyond that, there’s the simple fact these items occasionally blow up.
You hadn’t learned about this? Some pretty gruesome reports are starting to stack up. In November, a man in Colorado broke his neck, lost some teeth, and suffered burns and facial fractures when his e-cigarette exploded. A 15-year-old California boy lost half a dozen teeth in a similar mishap last month. In Tennessee, another teen is recuperating from the severe burns caused each time a vape starter kit caught fire in their pocket a couple weeks ago.
Statistics outlining precisely how prevalent this really is remain thin, nevertheless the Federal Emergency Management Agency, of all the things, identified 25 cases of electronic cigarette explosions in the US between 2009-2014. However, that list is situated only on incidents reported by the media. Given that vaping’s seen a surge in popularity consequently-just last year, the CDC reported a three-fold increase among middle- and school students alone-the quantity almost certainly is rising. A brief Google search shows a minimum of twelve explosions in 2015 alone.
Instead of burning tobacco, vape pens and e-cigs make use of a small lithium-ion battery to heat an aerosol cartridge to discharge a vapor that’s inhaled. As with any device which uses lithium-ion batteries, you can come across problems as soon as the battery is damaged or subjected to extremes in temperature. A short circuit might cause battery to overheat, catch fire, or perhaps explode. These problems often appear in cheap consumer gadgets that are quickly churned away from factories. On the whole, it’s relatively rare, but obviously it happens-recently, in hoverboard scooters.
“With lithium-ion batteries on the whole, when you operate one outside its safety window, there’s a tendency where things could go wrong,” says Venkat Viswanathan, who teaches mechanical engineering Carnegie Mellon University. That window is startlingly small: Viswanathan says batteries are the best kept between 50 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s February, and but four US states are averaging temperatures below 50 at the moment.
In some instances, the catch is compounded by cheap lithium-ion batteries that “don’t possess the luxury of making use of sophisticated management systems,” Viswanathan says. That can bring about dangerously over- or under-charged batteries. Dendrite is an additional potential problem. Dendrite can be a conductive filament that will form over the course of boxmmod charge/discharge cycles, specifically if the battery is rapidly charged. These things can spread similar to a weed, eventually bridging the electrodes and causing a short circuit. “You have basically something equivalent to gasoline in your lithium-ion battery,” Viswanathan says, “so immediately it catches fire.”
Lithium-ion batteries power a great deal of gadgets naturally, and often do so without trouble. But things like mobile phone devices and laptops and electric vehicles typically are manufactured to exacting specifications and rigorously tested, both from the company and outside experts. The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association, which represents for vape-makers, said it “cannot talk with user error or for a manufacturer for his or her device” and, “When there is truly a concern having a specific device, just like a lap top or mobile phone manufacturer, that company should go ahead and take appropriate action.”
As well as to be fair, it’s not uncommon for users to modify their vape mod box, and numerous websites offer easy methods to do exactly that. The business trade group duly notes that hacked and modded devices can pose a safety risk.
All of these begs the question what, if anything, is now being done relating to this. Most regulatory discussions about e-cigarettes and vapes pinpoint the Food and Drug Administration’s critique in the chemicals located in the devices. The FDA is going to introduce rules regulating the marketplace, a move which could classify electronic cigarettes and vaping products similar to tobacco. Products would carry warning labels, sales to minors could be banned, and you’d see restrictions on things such as offering free samples. But little has been said concerning the safety of the devices.
The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association says it supports “reasonable science-based regulations,” but opposes something that might “stifle innovation.” But it really argues “e-cigs and vapor goods are technology products, separate and distinct from combustible tobacco.” They liken those to electronic products.
That’s where things get tricky. Asked whether it has any safety concerns concerning the devices, the individual Products Safety Commission deferred to the FDA, saying this is the federal regulator in control there. The FDA does claim responsibility for ensuring the protection in the parts within the devices which are employed in the consumption of cigarettes and tobacco products. But there aren’t a great deal of safety rules for manufacturers to go by, as well as the FDA is encouraging customers to report any problems.
Viswanathan includes a recommendation for companies making what is popcorn lung from vaping and also other gadgets that utilize lithium-ion batteries: Crib from automakers making electric cars. They’ve developed sophisticated systems for minimizing the potential risks of problems. “Lithium-ion batteries fundamentally are susceptible to catching fire,” he says, “and car makers have discovered efficient methods to create zones where these batteries are secure to use.”
Granted, the percentages your vape pen will blow up just like an exploding cigar are slim. However it is possible, so your best option is to find an excellent vape pen from your reputable manufacturer. Look at the parts-if they feel and look cheap, they probably are. Viswanathan suggests ensuring it’s got some sort of battery management system in order to avoid shorts and thermal runaway. Make certain you’re making use of the right battery and charger, and don’t modify anything.