Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Vaping & Health

Vape Explosions: What You Need To Know

By soupwire - February 12, 2019

While many of us believe that most people vape to quit smoking, the majority of ex-smokers and vaping enthusiasts assert that vaping allows them to enjoy tobacco in a different, flavorful way. Most importantly, in a safer way. Using a vaping device in place of regular cigarettes not only reduces the public’s exposure to secondhand smoke, but it also protects users from the chemicals and toxins that they are otherwise exposed to when smoking cigarettes.

Lung cancer, which is among the three main causes of death from smoking, results not from nicotine, but from direct exposure to the carcinogens in tobacco smoke. It is nearly impossible to overdose on nicotine when using a vaping device as directed, because it is quickly metabolized and cleared from your body.

Modern vape stores offer customers an unlimited number of e-juice flavors to choose from. In addition to a wide selection of delicious flavors, many stores are aspiring to provide a recreational atmosphere while encouraging customers to relax and socialize. There is also the massive cloud output that has now developed into a competitive sport among vaping enthusiasts.

As a safer alternative to smoking, and with the growing advent of new devices and market growth, the vaping trend will most likely stay around for a long time.

A vaping device is designed to provide users with an enjoyable vaping experience. Following the directions on its proper use is important to prevent accidents that can occur when not used as directed. Although uncommon, vaping devices can pose a risk to users and can cause serious harm when used improperly.

What Is a Vape Explosion?

Image via Flickr by lindsay-fox

A vape explosion is a situation where the battery of a vaping device suddenly explodes. The incident can cause serious injury and loss of property, especially when it occurs in a user’s pocket or close to their face. Most explosions are the result of users not using chargers or batteries as recommended. This can include not using a specific charger recommended by the manufacturer, using a battery with inaccurate ratings, using faulty or damaged batteries, improper charging, and improper transporting of spare batteries.

Most e-juice devices have built-in safety features, but as with any product that contains a lithium-ion battery, and with misuse, these devices can cause burns and fires. While the media tends to portray vape explosions as happening a lot, there really is no evidence that these explosions occur any more than any other battery-powered consumer electronic product. There is a very slim chance of a user experiencing a vape explosion when basic principles of battery safety are followed.

Batteries in vape devices are either lithium-ion or lithium-polymer cells. For the most part, these batteries are safe unless you get a bad apple. Unfortunately, when batteries do not meet the standards in factories where they are mass-produced, they end up being sold to resellers. The good news is that researchers are constantly developing batteries, which will most likely mean that the risk of exploding vapes will disappear in the future.

Currently, there are batteries being developed that are designed with a fire-resistant barrier and those with a stable solid-state electrolyte made from glass that replaces the flammable liquid electrolyte in lithium batteries.

With the phenomenal growth in social media sites, stories of vape explosions get shared thousands of times, which make many people believe that vape explosions are a rule rather than a rare occurrence. Take, for instance, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 episode that received a huge amount of media coverage. In reality, the actual problem only happened in 0.1 percent and was the result of defective batteries.

Can an E-Cig Explode?

E-cigarettes are electronic cigarettes, which were originally designed to provide smokers with a nicotine fix devoid of the harmful effects of tobacco cigarettes. Like other vaping devices, e-cigs do come with risk as they are battery-powered devices. The device is hand-held, and if an e-cig explodes during use, it can cause the user serious harm. Although the batteries are what explodes and not the device, people still refer to an explosion as an e-cig explosion.

Although e-cig explosions are rare, their use and popularity have resulted in an abundance of stories recounting e-cig explosions on the Internet. Like vape explosions, many of these stories are instances of explosions taking place when using the devices, while others are recounts of explosions during charging, storage, and transportation.

Cell phones, cameras, and hybrid cars all contain the same type of batteries used in e-cigs. We know that any device poses a risk when a lithium-ion battery of this type is involved. Typically, when a battery fails, the internal pressure within the battery has exceeded a point due to its electrolyte being overheated. This causes the sealed end of the battery case to rupture and release pressure.

Vaping batteries are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. Although unmodified products do fail to operate correctly, enthusiasts often experiment with different e-juices and batteries hoping to amp up the device to gain a more pleasurable vaping experience. Ramping up e-cig voltage is a bad idea and produces even more risk for explosion and health concerns. The method leads to possible overheating and explosion, and smoking higher voltage e-cigs increases a users risk of exposure to formaldehyde.

Can a Vape Cause a Fire?

Vapes can be a fire hazard in certain situations. How you maintain your device and the quality of the device you invest in will certainly determine how high your risks are. As previously mentioned, the device itself does not cause most explosions or fires; it is the result of a battery malfunction or misuse. Reading directions and using devices as designed can help to avoid most fire hazards altogether.

If a vape battery is overheated, a chemical reaction takes place within the lithium-based battery. The end result is either a fire or an explosion. Both results can be very serious. You should be aware that when a battery overheats or is damaged, it should be safely disposed of immediately to prevent a fire or explosion. An overheated battery should not be allowed to cool down and then reused.

Unfortunately, there has been an increase in fire incidents that involve the use of vaping devices. The majority of these incidents are related to battery and charging device malfunctions. People often use a computer or DVD player as a charging source. When used improperly, the charger may heat up to dangerous temperatures and this becomes a fire hazard. Many lawmakers are urging manufacturers to introduce new graphic warning labels to spell out the dangers and fire hazards involved when operating and charging a vape.

Vaping devices have been banned by the Federal Aviation Administration from being placed in checked luggage due to their potential fire danger. Again, these risks were in relation to the concerns of battery failure and manufacturing defects. As long as lithium-ion batteries are used in vaping devices, an increase in fires reported is likely to continue due to the growth of vaping devices usage. To lower the risk of fire, the best practice for vape users is to educate themselves and follow the instructions for their device to ensure proper use and charging.

Common Causes of Vape Explosions

The lithium-ion battery in a vape poses the biggest safety risk due to their potential to explode or catch fire. These batteries contain a solution that is different than the electrolyte solutions found in other batteries. Many believe that the design of certain vapes also increases the likelihood of a dangerous explosion if the battery fails or malfunctions. While lithium-ion batteries power laptops and many other devices, their design and rigid plastic cases tend to lessen the damage if a battery explosion does occur.

Fortunately, explosions don’t occur often, but when they do, the incident can be dangerous and traumatizing. Pinpointing one single reason as to why these failures are happening is impossible, but there does seem to be obvious problems in regards to standards and testing on the manufacturing side of things. In addition to manufacturing faults, users are to blame when they use their devices irresponsibly, such as by making modifications and powering their device with the incorrect power source.

Although vapes are considered to be rather simple devices, the electrolyte inside the battery is considered to be the equivalent of gasoline. When thought of in this context, it is easy to understand how a short or malfunction in the battery could easily cause a surge of heat to cause the electrolyte to explode. This is where the quality of the battery comes in to play.

Lithium-ion cells that are well made pose a smaller risk of failure than those that are cheaper cells. As the cells are charged too quickly or overcharged, the risk of an explosion only increases. Many better quality lithium-ion batteries are designed with a fail-safe mechanism to prevent failure, while cheaper versions are not.

Millions and millions of people are vaping, and when compared to the number of users, vape explosions are considered to be a rare incident. Regardless, you should purchase your device from a reputable company that follows manufacturing guidelines and provides you with important safety information. In addition, you should educate yourself on important tips to help protect you from a vape explosion.

How to Prevent Vape Explosions

Vaping enthusiasts should be aware of the potential risk and harm when using a vaping device. If your vape shop or online seller does not educate you on how to operate, use, charge, transport, and store your device, here are tips on how to get the most life out of your vape and reduce your risk of an explosion:

  • Only use quality vaping accessories. Don’t be lured into buying low-quality accessories. If it’s too cheap to be true, it is most likely a low-quality product. Stick with trusted brands, even it means paying a higher price.
  • Only use the batteries recommended by the manufacturer for your specific device. Atomizers with low resistance coils strain your battery, which means they have to operate for a longer period of time at their highest level. Lower resistance requires a higher voltage and manufacturers indicate specific batteries to be used with specific atomizers. Read the device label and instructions before using these batteries.
  • One of the biggest causes of a vape explosion is from users charging their device with a power source not recommended for charging. In fact, the majority of reported explosions have taken place during the charging process. Most of the explosions were confirmed to be the result of users charging their device with a different power source than stipulated by the manufacturer.
  • Stay close by and check the battery while charging. Many of the reported explosions have been handled immediately because the owner was monitoring the charging process. You should never charge your device while sleeping or away.
  • When the battery is fully charged, remove it from the charger. Leaving it plugged in lessens the battery’s ability to hold power.
  • Do not carry your spare battery with you. Metallic objects like coins, keys, or buttons may cause a short circuit resulting in an explosion. If you must carry a spare battery, purchase a safe plastic case designed for the purpose of storing extra batteries.
  • When storing a device battery, it should be kept dry in a cool area where it will not be exposed to high heat. To prevent overheating, the battery should not be stored in direct sunlight.
  • A damaged or defected battery should be disposed of immediately and properly.
  • When you are carrying your device in your pocket, you should place the device in the off position. If your device has a locking feature make use of it for added protection.

Anyone who wants to vape will do well to read through the manual that comes with the vaping device. This can help ensure the device is being used correctly, and it greatly reduces the risk of a vape explosion.

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