Vape Explosions: The Truth behind What You See in the News

E Cigarette Vape Explosions

Early this week a LaPorte woman was hurt because of a vape explosions. Another news coming from Washington town says that Mr. Scott Becker experienced third-degree burns as the E-Cigarette he was smoking exploded and caught fire.

The news of vape explosions have been currently doing rounds in media, but have you ever wondered about the truth behind the news? There could be, of course, several angles to the news reporting, and here we will discuss in detail about them.

Let me first clarify that E Cigarettes do not explode. No, they never do! The explosion happens due to faulty or leaky e cig batteries that are inside an E Cigarette.

Batteries are commonly used in a variety of machines such as battery powered toothbrush, trimmer, mobile phone, notepad, and laptops which we use in our day to day life.

There are cases of battery explosions in almost all of these machines around the world, so, your E Cigarette is not a special case. As long as you understand how your E Cigarette works and how you can avoid battery explosions, you are safe!

Vape explosions are rare events. Given the fact that millions of vaper use E Cigarette daily, still there are only a limited number of explosion incidents reported all over the world. Vape explosion, although is not likely an event, it is better to be aware of it and prevent it by using some tips and tricks.

So, let’s first understand how the E Cigarette that you are holding in your fingers actually works.

To avoid E Cigarette explosion let’s see how an E Cigarette Work?

  • E Cigarette, as all of you know, is a handheld electronic device that vaporizes E-liquid to provide an enhanced smoking like experience.
  • E Cigarette is made up of two major components — Clearomizer & Battery.
  • The clearomizer is the part which is proximal to your lips when you vape, whereas the battery panel is the part which always remains relatively distant from your body.
  • The battery, generally a Lithium-ion chargeable, once charged provides power for the heating coil in the clearomizers to heat up the E-liquid so as to convert it into vapes which can be inhaled through the drip tip.

The anatomy of an E Cigarette

So, since you already know what how your E Cigarette works, let’s find out which E Cigarettes are more prone to explosion.

Which E Cigarettes Explode?

  • We know that batteries are the main culprit behind the vape explosions but I find that the design of your vaporizer can also contribute to the vape explosion.
  • Certain makes and models of vaporizers are potentially more hazardous than the others.
  • At this stage, it is difficult to comment on which brand of E Cigarette is more hazardous, If you go through all the news articles on E Cigarette explosions, you can make out certain commonalities.
  • Most of the explosions happen when a vaper is vaping a rechargeable vape pen.

Why are Vape Pens More Prone to Explode?

  • Not only in your personal E Cigarette, but also in many rechargeable devices, the battery can be easily detached and recharged. This way there is no contact between the battery and the device while you recharge the battery.
  • On the other hand, in vape pens, often the battery is non-detachable. The vape pen design has a built-in USB charging port, which allows you to plug in the whole device just like your Smartphone.
  • How could this be a problem? As you see, in a vape pen the heating coil is adjacent to the battery, and if you are charging the battery in close contact with the heating coil, it may increase the probability of explosion if there is a tweak in the device’s operation.

A Quick Look at U.S. Fire Administration’s Report

  • It’s not only vaping community, but the U.S. Government wants to know causes of E Cigarette explosions.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA reports their thorough investigation with respect to vape explosions, their causes, and after-effects.
  • FEMA report says that most of the explosions happened with vape pens during recharging the battery.
  • When did the E Cigarettes explode? FEMA found out that most (80%) of the explosions happened while the vape pens were being charged.
  • What were the after effects? FEMA found out that in most (52%) of the cases, there was minor fire spread after the explosion. There were no casualties.

E Cigarette — Vape Explosions

E Cigarette Vape Explosions

Quick stat from U.S. Homeland Security’s FEMA report

Why do Lithium-ion batteries explode?

  • Lithium-ion batteries make an excellent choice for rechargeable batteries. These batteries are often used in portable devices including laptops and cell phones.
  • Lithium-ion batteries are generally safe. The explosion events are rare.
  • Lithium-ion batteries contain a metal anode and a cathode separated by a porous film. The film contains electrolyte liquid. The electrolyte liquid currently used in Lithium-ion batteries is of flammable nature.
  • If battery overheats there is a possibility that the liquid may catch fire, which may, in turn, interfere with the batteries functioning probably leading to an e-cigarette explosion.
  • To avoid this, scientists are working to use a less combustible electrolyte solvent but currently there are no such e cig batteries available in the market.

What does make E Cigarette Explosions so special?

  • The way Lithium-ion battery explodes in an E Cigarette is slightly different than it does on a cell phone or a laptop.
  • E Cigarettes have cylindrical Lithium-ion batteries. When the electrolyte catches fire due to overheating, it exerts pressure on the walls of the battery. Eventually, the batteries explode and literally ‘fly away’ like a bullet.
  • This may cause a fire and the bullet like propelling movement can give a sudden jerk or shot to the vaper.
  • In the case of cell phones and laptops, the batteries are generally flat and encased in a hard plastic cover. Therefore, even if the battery explodes, it does not ‘fly away’ and the intensity of the explosion is less due to hard covering.
  • Since E Cigarettes are generally in the close contact with the vapers face, vape explosions could turn out to be ugly than thought.

What’s with USB port and charging?

  • As per the FEMA report, most of the vape explosions happened while charging the E Cigarette using a USB port.
  • The USB port, nowadays a common thing, is a universal charging option which can be connected several devices. However, what most of the vapers do not take into consideration is that various USB ports have various input requirements and outputs.
  • USB ports are not like an ordinary port that can be plugged anywhere. USB ports are sensitive ports and may cause irreparable damage to the device if not inserted in an appropriate socket.
  • So, if you are inserting your E Cigarette in a non-recommended USB port or power adapter, you are yourself making the conditions favorable for a potential vape explosion.

Survey of cases

If you are still not convinced that vape explosions, happened due to the negligence of use of E Cigarette, can be devastating, here are some real-life examples from last three years.

Fresno, California (December 2016) — A man riding on a city bus was carrying an E Cigarette in his pocket. The E Cigarette suddenly caught fire and the person experienced third-degree burns. 
Albany, New York (May 2016) — An Albany resident experienced serious burns as the E Cigarette exploded in use. The explosion knocked out several teeth and left the vaper with a hole in his tongue. The explosion happened probably because of an incompatible charger in use.

Atlanta, Georgia (March 2016) — A flight passenger’s carry-on baggage started burning as a result of an E Cigarette explosion inside the bag. The Delta airlines flight was delayed due to the fire, but none passengers were affected by the explosion.

Austin, Texas (July 2015) — A man was carrying an E Cigarette in his pocket. He first felt vibrations and soon the E Cigarette exploded inside his pocket. He experienced third-degree burns. Reports suggest a fake battery in use. 
South Hampton, England (November 2014) — An E Cigarette, while charging, exploded in a house in England. The cause of the explosion was found out to be a non-manufacturer-supplied charger.

Nine Tips & Tricks to avoid Vape Explosions

  • Always know your E Cigarette and avoid fake or duplicate material.
  • You can check for best E Cigarette brands at Vaping Zone.
  • Only use manufacturer provided power adapter and charging cord. In case, you lose the charger or cord, buy one from the same manufacturer. This is very important.
  • Do not plug E Cigarette device or USB charger to devices such as computers or laptops for charging.
  • It is a good idea to use an E Cigarette which has a detachable battery unit.
  • Never ever overcharge the battery.
  • Use cases for covering the battery. The hard cases control and reduce the severity of the vape explosion.
  • When you buy an E Cigarette or a battery, always check for battery leakage, battery wrapper break, and any physical damage to the battery.
  • Do not let batteries touch each other or any metal object.

Summary

  • Vape explosions are real, but the way they are interpreted are often wrong.
  • Vape explosions are rare events and with proper precautions can be easily avoided.
  • E Cigarettes do not explode but the Lithium-ion battery they run on may.
  • If you understand well how your E Cigarette works and how the batteries should be charged there is no way that you will experience a vape explosion.
  • Vape explosions generally occur while charging the E Cigarette battery.
  • It has been observed that faulty and fake batteries cause explosions.
  • The types of USB chargers and power sources have also been identified as problem elements leading to vape explosion.
  • If you follow certain tips and tricks, vape explosions can be easily avoided.

I highly recommend using popular E Cigarette brands available on Vaping Zone to enjoy vaping and worry less about explosions! Remember, best E Cigarette brands from Vaping Zone means your safety covered!

Source — https://www.vapingzone.com/blog/e-cigarette-vape-explosions/

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