Some individuals hail vaping as being a safer replacement for 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 a few evidence how the stuff inside vapes and e-cigs is toxic. But beyond that, there’s the very fact these things occasionally blow up.
You hadn’t found out about this? Some pretty gruesome reports are beginning to pile up. In November, a man 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 inside a similar mishap recently. In Tennessee, another teen is dealing with the severe burns caused each time a vape starter kit caught fire in the pocket a couple weeks ago.
Statistics outlining precisely how prevalent this is remain thin, however the Federal Emergency Management Agency, of all the things, identified 25 cases of electronic cigarette explosions in the usa between 2009-2014. However, that list is based only on incidents reported with the media. Considering that vaping’s seen a surge in popularity ever since then-this past year, the CDC reported a three-fold increase among middle- and school students alone-the amount certainly is rising. A fast Online search shows at the very least twelve explosions in 2015 alone.
Rather than 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. Like any device which utilizes lithium-ion batteries, you are able to come upon problems once the battery is damaged or exposed to extremes in temperature. A brief circuit might cause battery to overheat, catch fire, and even explode. These problems usually happen in cheap consumer gadgets that happen to be quickly churned away from factories. On the whole, it’s relatively rare, but obviously it occurs-most recently, in hoverboard scooters.
“With lithium-ion batteries generally, 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 would be best kept between 50 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s February, and all of but four US states are averaging temperatures below 50 at this time.
Occasionally, the catch is compounded by cheap lithium-ion batteries that “don’t have the luxury of utilizing sophisticated management systems,” Viswanathan says. That can lead to dangerously over- or under-charged batteries. Dendrite is yet another potential problem. Dendrite can be a conductive filament that may form over the course of boxmmod charge/discharge cycles, especially if the battery is rapidly charged. These things can spread such as 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, “therefore immediately it catches fire.”
Lithium-ion batteries power a great deal of gadgets naturally, and frequently achieve this without trouble. But such things as mobile phones and laptops and electric vehicles typically are made 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 speak to user error or on behalf of a manufacturer for their device” and, “If you have truly a concern using a specific device, similar to a lap top or mobile phone manufacturer, that company should go ahead and take appropriate action.”
And also to be fair, it’s not uncommon for users to change their box mod vape, and any number of websites offer tips on how to do just 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 something, will be done relating to this. Most regulatory discussions about e-cigarettes and vapes focus on the Food and Drug Administration’s critique from the chemicals based 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 stuff like offering free samples. But little has been said in regards to 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 them to consumer electronics.
That’s where things get tricky. Asked if it has any safety concerns regarding the devices, the individual Products Safety Commission deferred for the FDA, saying it will be the federal regulator in charge there. The FDA does claim responsibility for ensuring the security in the parts from the devices which are utilized in the intake of cigarettes and tobacco products. But there aren’t lots of safety rules for manufacturers to go by, and also the FDA is encouraging individuals to report any problems.
Viswanathan carries a recommendation for companies making what is popcorn lung from vaping and also other gadgets that use lithium-ion batteries: Crib from automakers making electric cars. They’ve developed sophisticated systems for minimizing the health risks of problems. “Lithium-ion batteries fundamentally are inclined to catching fire,” he says, “and car makers have found efficient methods to create zones where these batteries are secure to use.”
Granted, the percentages your vape pen will blow up like an exploding cigar are slim. Yet it is possible, so the best choice is to buy an excellent vape pen from a reputable manufacturer. Examine the parts-when they feel and look cheap, they probably are. Viswanathan suggests making certain it’s got some form of battery management system to prevent shorts and thermal runaway. Be sure you’re using the right battery and charger, and don’t modify anything.