A lot of people 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, there is some evidence that the stuff inside vapes and e-cigs is toxic. But beyond that, there’s the fact these matters occasionally blow up.
You hadn’t heard of this? Some pretty gruesome reports are beginning to pile up. In November, a guy 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 twelve teeth in a similar mishap recently. In Tennessee, another teen is dealing with the severe burns caused whenever a cheap vape pen starter kit caught fire in their pocket a couple of weeks ago.
Statistics outlining just how prevalent this really is remain thin, nevertheless the Federal Emergency Management Agency, of things, identified 25 cases of e-cigarette explosions in the usa between 2009-2014. However, that list is based only on incidents reported by the media. Considering that vaping’s seen a surge in popularity consequently-just last year, the CDC reported a three-fold increase among middle- and high school students alone-the number more than likely is rising. A quick Internet search shows a minimum of a dozen explosions in 2015 alone.
As an alternative to 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 that uses lithium-ion batteries, it is possible to encounter problems as soon as the battery is damaged or subjected to extremes in temperature. A shorter circuit might cause battery to overheat, catch fire, or even explode. These problems often appear in cheap consumer gadgets which are quickly churned out of factories. Overall, it’s relatively rare, but obviously it takes place-recently, in hoverboard scooters.
“With lithium-ion batteries generally, once 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 would be best kept between 50 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s February, and all sorts of but four US states are averaging temperatures below 50 at the moment.
Sometimes, the catch is compounded by cheap lithium-ion batteries that “don’t possess the luxury of employing sophisticated management systems,” Viswanathan says. That can cause dangerously over- or under-charged batteries. Dendrite is an additional potential problem. Dendrite can be a conductive filament that could form throughout boxmmod charge/discharge cycles, particularly if the battery is rapidly charged. This stuff can spread such as a weed, eventually bridging the electrodes and creating a short circuit. “You have basically something comparable to gasoline within your lithium-ion battery,” Viswanathan says, “and thus immediately it catches fire.”
Lithium-ion batteries power a whole lot of gadgets needless to say, and quite often achieve this without trouble. But things like mobile phone devices and laptops and electric vehicles typically are manufactured to exacting specifications and rigorously tested, both through the company and outside experts. The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association, which represents for vape-makers, said it “cannot talk to user error or on behalf of a manufacturer with regard to their device” and, “When there is truly a challenge by using a specific device, similar to a lap top or cellular phone manufacturer, that company should take the appropriate action.”
As well as to be fair, it’s not uncommon for users to change their best box mod vape, and numerous websites offer tips about how to just do that. The market trade group duly notes that hacked and modded devices can pose a safety risk.
All of these begs the question what, if anything, has been done about this. Most regulatory discussions about e-cigarettes and vapes target the Food and Drug Administration’s critique of your chemicals based in the devices. The FDA is about to introduce rules regulating the market, a move that could classify electronic cigarettes and vaping products just like tobacco. Products would carry warning labels, sales to minors would be banned, and you’d see restrictions on stuff like offering free samples. But little is considered regarding the safety of the 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 merchandise is technology products, separate and distinct from combustible tobacco.” They liken those to consumer electronics.
That’s where things get tricky. Asked if this has any safety concerns in regards to the devices, the customer Products Safety Commission deferred on the FDA, saying it will be the federal regulator in charge there. The FDA does claim responsibility for ensuring the safety of the parts inside the devices that happen to be utilized in the consumption of cigarettes and tobacco products. But there aren’t a lot of safety rules for manufacturers to go by, as well as the FDA is encouraging people to report any problems.
Viswanathan features a recommendation for companies making what is vaping along with other gadgets which 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 have discovered efficient methods to create zones where these batteries are safe to use.”
Granted, the odds that your particular vape pen will blow up as an exploding cigar are slim. Yet it is possible, so your best bet is to find an excellent 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 sort of battery management system to avoid shorts and thermal runaway. Make certain you’re while using right battery and charger, and don’t modify anything.