When you google “vaping explosion”, you will find dreadful stories of vape explosion instances that caused serious injuries to the victim. You are left wondering, am I at risk?
In 2019, New York Times reported a vape explosion that badly injured a Nevada youth’s jaw.
Another report published by WebMD in May 2022 indicated that within 4 years, 15 youths were injured from e-cigarette explosions.
So, to answer your question, are you at risk? We say, accidents happen, but their occurrence can be reduced by taking caution and practicing preventive measures.
In this article, you will learn what causes vape explosions and how they can be prevented.
What are the Odds of Vape Exploding
Despite the alarming news stories that made e-cigarette explosions seem a common occurrence, the fact is they are very rare. Such explosions are caused by an overheated battery that causes gasses and chemicals in e-liquids to escape rapidly.
People with limited vaping knowledge don’t know that the popular vape mods, pods, and vape pens have regulated circuitry that makes them safe to use. Only unregulated box mods pose serious injury risks to inexperienced users. The anatomy of an e-cigarette battery is publicly available, showing explicit quality compliance. The only accidents that can happen are due to avoidable user mistakes.
Most vape explosions happen with spare batteries and not the original device batteries, and such problems are generally caused by user error. It is easy for vaping skeptics to misjudge the situation, especially when they see camera footage of people literally on fire from such vaping explosions. And yes, that’s how big a vape explosion can become. Most skeptics do not analyze the situation completely and lack vaping knowledge.
The odds of vape exploding are very low as long as the vapers follow the basic battery safety principles. Besides very rare occasions of a defective battery, vaping accidents are easily avoidable.
Causes of Vaping Explosions
The major culprit in vape explosions is the battery. Sometimes fire accidents can happen even without an e-cigarette involved. The highest percentage of accidents and vape explosions happen due to user mistakes and rarely from manufacturer mistakes.
Wrongly stored batteries
Any battery has positive and negative poles, and the circuit should be completed in controlled circuitry. Sometimes errors happen, like storing a battery with uncovered poles together with metallic objects. Once they come into contact with the poles, a circuit is completed in an uncontrolled system which can cause sparks that can ignite flammable components in the surrounding.
Vapers sometimes carry a spare battery, especially when traveling to a place they won’t have access to charging stations. When wrongly stored, these batteries can cause accidents like in the scenario described. Now imagine spilled e-juice in your pocket or purse then such an accident happens. E-juice is flammable, and that explains some accidents with people catching fire.
While any battery type can cause such accidents, vapers are at a higher risk since they make the highest percentage of people likely to carry such gadgets with them.
Wrong battery with the wrong coil resistance
You must be an expert in Ohm’s law to even try using unregulated box mods and mech coils. Understanding the resistance of the coils, the battery capacity, and continuous output should be at your fingertips. Otherwise, you are prone to suffering vape injuries caused by negligence and lack of information.
Manufacturers sometimes label their batteries with peaks or pulse amperage rather than continuous output. A manufacturer can label a battery as 40 amp but this amperage only lasts a few seconds and cannot sustain a safe continuous draw of current at this capacity.
Now, imagine that you are using unregulated mods and building your own atomizers and coil resistance. When a battery is wrongly labeled, you might end up using a low-resistance coil with a battery that cannot sustain the current drawn by this coil. What follows are unpleasant events of overheating cells that can end up blowing up when the device cannot vent the heat easily.
There have been several reported cases of fatal accidents happening this way. If the vape explodes in your mouth, it can shatter your jaw, stick fragments on your brain or damage an artery in your upper body that can lead to bleeding out. And yes, it gets that serious.
Poor charging practices
One of the common problems associated with charging is causing battery instability by overcharging. One way it can happen is by using the wrong charger. Every battery type has its own charger. Using a high-power battery charger to charge a low-power battery can cause overcharging.
A defective charger can also overcharge a battery. The best quality chargers have overcharge protection that ensures the battery is only charged to its optimal limits.
Leaving your devices charging overnight or charging for extended periods without supervision can cause the battery to overheat and destroy the battery. A spoiled battery means higher chances of vaping accidents like e-cigarette explosions.
They say, if you have never been duped, you haven’t lived long enough. Unfortunately, in Kenya the chances of buying low-quality or counterfeit products are high. You better hope not to get a low-quality or fake vape battery. Such can cause serious injuries caused by vape explosions.
Big electronics manufacturers make their products by following strict quality control regulations. When a battery does not pass the quality standards, it is kicked out of the batch. Sometimes, these rejects are sold to some resellers who wrap, repackage and sell them under a different name. Such batteries are very cheap. Users might be tempted to buy them due to their low cost.
The downside is that these batteries are inefficient. When used with vaping devices, their low quality makes them susceptible to causing accidents.
Besides low-quality batteries, some sellers distribute counterfeit batteries. They make low-quality batteries wrapped in renowned brand labels. Such substandard batteries end up circulating in the market. Innocent buyers do not realize that the product they are getting is counterfeit.
How to Avoid Vape Explosion
As mentioned earlier, most vaping accidents happen due to user error, which is avoidable. Vaping devices, especially those with advanced features (vape mods), have a user manual that illustrates safety measures when using these products. It’s advisable to always follow the basic principles of vaping safety to prevent injuries.
Some of the preventive measures against e-cigarettes explosions and fires are as follows:
Do not carry loose batteries in purses and pockets
Avoid loose batteries' contact with metallic objects. The best option would be to use insulated covers to store your spare batteries when carrying them along.
Use regulated vaping devices
Regulated devices have safe circuitry with an electric cutoff that secures your device in case the atomizer draws more current than the battery can safely deliver. Only use unregulated box mods if you are an expert in Ohm’s law, and have verified the amperage and quality of your batteries. Always use the right coil resistance with the correct battery amperage. Regulated vaping devices save you the trouble of figuring all these out.
Avoid overcharging your batteries
Do not leave your device charging overnight or unsupervised for long periods. Always use the correct charger for your device. Do not use your phone charger on your vaping device. Vape chargers are made specifically for their batteries. You can end up using a charger made for a higher-power device than your vape, which might overcharge your vape batteries. Overcharging causes overheating or damage to the battery cell, making it weaker and prone to causing accidents.
Buy vaping products from reputable dealers
You can avoid counterfeit and low-quality batteries and other vaping products by buying from reputable vape shops. For instance, all products at Vape Lab are imported from authorized brand dealers. You can purchase safe and high-quality vaping products at our shop without worrying about vaping accidents.
Service your device
Replace worn-out parts, including damaged vape batteries, coils, and atomizers. Ensure that your device is safe to use at all times. Follow the basic vaping safety guidelines.
More Vaping Safety Tips
- Protect your e-cigarettes from extreme temperatures like direct sunlight, hot surfaces, etc.
- Do not vape around flammable products.
- Use batteries with their respective vape brands. Most of these batteries are made specifically for devices within the brand. Do not be tempted just because they fit with different brands.
- Safety first, fun second. Avoid dangerous experiments, especially when there have been reported cases of injury.
- Unblock blocked vent holes to ensure your vape lets out excess heat effectively.
How to know when a vape is going to explode
The obvious sign would be overheating. You will feel the rapid change in temperature, a burning smell, and sometimes a high-pitched squeal. When the signs are rapid, keep the device a safe distance from your body and flammable surfaces. When the signs aren’t rapid, switch off the device and remove the battery.
Accidents happen, and it is your responsibility to do all in your power to prevent them. Take the necessary safety precautions.
The most important takeaway point is that vaping explosions are rare and avoidable. Start by buying the best quality vape products at the Vape Lab e-cigarettes store in Nairobi.