Some individuals hail vaping as being a safer option to cigarettes, arguing that there’s no tobacco smoke, so it’s got to be safer. It remains to be seen if that’s true, where there is some evidence that this stuff inside vapes and e-cigs is toxic. But beyond that, there’s the simple fact these things occasionally blow up.
You hadn’t learned about this? Some pretty gruesome reports are starting to stack up. In November, a person in Colorado broke his neck, lost some teeth, and suffered burns and facial fractures when his electronic cigarette exploded. A 15-year-old California boy lost half 12 teeth within a similar mishap last month. In Tennessee, another teen is dealing with the severe burns caused whenever a cheap vape pen starter kit caught fire in his pocket a couple weeks ago.
Statistics outlining just how prevalent this can be remain thin, however the Federal Emergency Management Agency, of things, identified 25 cases of e-cigarette explosions in america between 2009-2014. However, that list is located only on incidents reported through the media. Considering the fact that vaping’s seen a surge in popularity since that time-last year, the CDC reported a three-fold increase among middle- and high school students alone-the amount almost certainly is rising. A simple Internet search shows at the very least twelve explosions in 2015 alone.
Rather than burning tobacco, vape pens and e-cigs use a small lithium-ion battery to heat an aerosol cartridge to release a vapor that’s inhaled. As with any device which utilizes lithium-ion batteries, it is possible to come upon problems when the battery is damaged or subjected to extremes in temperature. A short circuit may cause battery to overheat, catch fire, as well as explode. These problems tend to happen in cheap consumer gadgets that are quickly churned out from factories. In general, it’s relatively rare, but obviously it takes place-most recently, in hoverboard scooters.
“With lithium-ion batteries on the whole, if you operate one outside its safety window, there’s a tendency where things will go wrong,” says Venkat Viswanathan, who teaches mechanical engineering Carnegie Mellon University. That window is startlingly small: Viswanathan says batteries are best kept between 50 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s February, and all but four US states are averaging temperatures below 50 at the moment.
Sometimes, the issue is compounded by cheap lithium-ion batteries that “don’t possess the luxury of utilizing sophisticated management systems,” Viswanathan says. That can cause dangerously over- or under-charged batteries. Dendrite is yet another potential problem. Dendrite is really a conductive filament that could form over the course of boxmmod charge/discharge cycles, especially if the battery is rapidly charged. These things can spread just like a weed, eventually bridging the electrodes and causing a short circuit. “You have basically something equivalent to gasoline inside of your lithium-ion battery,” Viswanathan says, “and so immediately it catches fire.”
Lithium-ion batteries power a whole lot of gadgets naturally, and frequently do so without trouble. But things like mobile phones and laptops and electric vehicles typically are made to exacting specifications and rigorously tested, both with the company and outside experts. The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association, which represents for vape-makers, stated it “cannot talk to user error or for a manufacturer for their device” and, “When there is truly a challenge with a specific device, much like a lap top or cell phone manufacturer, that company should go ahead and take appropriate action.”
As well as be fair, it’s not unusual for users to modify their vape box mod, and any number of websites offer easy methods to do just that. The industry trade group duly notes that hacked and modded devices can pose a safety risk.
All of these begs the question what, if something, has been done regarding this. Most regulatory discussions about e-cigarettes and vapes concentrate on the Food and Drug Administration’s critique in the chemicals found in the devices. The FDA is about to introduce rules regulating the marketplace, a move that may classify e-cigarettes and vaping products much like tobacco. Products would carry warning labels, sales to minors can be banned, and you’d see restrictions on things like offering free samples. But little is considered concerning the safety of your devices.
The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association says it supports “reasonable science-based regulations,” but opposes whatever might “stifle innovation.” But it argues “e-cigs and vapor goods are technology products, separate and distinct from combustible tobacco.” They liken these people to consumer electronics.
That’s where things get tricky. Asked if this has any safety concerns concerning the devices, the Consumer Products Safety Commission deferred towards the FDA, saying this is the federal regulator in charge there. The FDA does claim responsibility for ensuring the safety in the parts inside the devices which can be utilized in the consumption of tobacco products. But there aren’t a great deal of safety rules for manufacturers to follow along with, and also the FDA is encouraging people to report any problems.
Viswanathan includes a recommendation for companies making what is the point of vaping and also other gadgets designed to use lithium-ion batteries: Crib from automakers making electric cars. They’ve developed sophisticated systems for minimizing the hazards of problems. “Lithium-ion batteries fundamentally are given to catching fire,” he says, “and car makers are finding efficient ways to create zones where these batteries are safe to use.”
Granted, the percentages that your particular vape pen will blow up just like an exploding cigar are slim. However it is possible, so your best bet is to purchase a quality vape pen from the reputable manufacturer. Examine the parts-when they appear and feel cheap, they probably are. Viswanathan suggests ensuring that it’s got some kind of battery management system to prevent shorts and thermal runaway. Make certain you’re utilizing the right battery and charger, and don’t modify anything.