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Why Do Some Vapes Explode & What it Means for Safety

Oct 18, 2019

There is an historic perception of safety issues with vape devices.

One such perception is linked to vaping devices exploding. The media often over reports singular incidents of vapes exploding, giving the impression that this is a very common thing. When in actual fact, instances of exploding vape devices are infrequent. Reports also suggest that the reason that vapes may explode is linked more to mishandling rather than the safety of the vape device itself.

With this in mind it is important to understand and take steps to ensure safety around vaping and e-cigarettes.

Why might vape devices explode?

In many cases, instances of exploding vape devices are linked to mishandling or lack of understanding with regards to safe usage and storage.

In fact, this BBC article quotes the station commander at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service as stating that   “It’s not the e-cigarettes that are unsafe in themselves, but the misuse of the lithium-ion batteries that they use.”

Creating your own ‘mods’

Most e-cigarettes come with built in safety features. However, some users may choose to modify their devices. Therefore bypassing the inbuilt safety features. Modifications can lead to high levels of power and heat being produced, particularly if the user doesn’t have sufficient knowledge of batteries. This can result in explosion or fire risk.

Mechanical mods have been implicated in some instances of vape devices exploding.

Battery storage and care

Many e-cigarettes use lithium-ion batteries to power them.These batteries are the same type as those used in many electronic goods such as mobile phones or cameras. Whilst batteries can go wrong from time to time as with all products, issues are more likely to occur when batteries are not stored or looked after properly. For example, storing spare batteries loose in a pocket, exposing batteries to direct sunlight or overcharging.

With regards to vape devices exploding, one Public Health England study is reported as stating, “Incidents are very rare, the cause is uncertain but appears to be related to malfunctioning lithium-ion batteries.”

Incorrect charging

Using any charger which fits your vape device can increase the risk of short circuiting and overheating. This increases the chance of the battery in the device overheating and causing a fire.

How can you ensure vape device safety?

Here are some tips for ensuring that you stay safe when vaping:

Only buy your vape devices and e-liquids from reputable sources – The UK has a heavily regulated vaping industry. It is important to only buy your vape products from a reputable source. This will ensure that the products you purchase have been through all of the necessary regulatory checks.

Do not modify your devices– E-cigarettes go through regulatory checks before being placed on the market. If you modify your device then you are likely to impact any safety features that they may come with

Use the correct charger for your device – only use the charger that was supplied with your vape device to charge it. Do not use a laptop or mobile charger, or any other charger which may fit it. Equally, avoid using your device whilst it is charging.

Do not leave your vape device charging unattended – do not leave your vape device to charge unattended. Or leave it to charge overnight. Overcharging can lead to overheating and increased fire risk.

Battery storage – do not keep loose batteries in your pocket. You must prevent them coming into contact with metal devices such as coins or keys. This can pose a fire risk or cause the battery to explode. Instead, store batteries in a case and keep them in a cool, dry place. Read this article on taking care of your e-cigarette batteries for more information.

Replace batteries if they get wet or damaged – As with any products, if you think there is damage to a battery you must discard the battery using the correct method.

Who is liable if a vape device does explode?

As a specialist in the vape insurance market, we often blog when news of vaping related accidents make the news.

Vape device related accidents raise questions about product liability.

Read our recent blog for an understanding of product liability when it comes to the vape industry and the cover that product liability insurance can offer to those who manufacture vaping equipment.

Why is it important to know the facts about vaping and e-cigarette safety?

Public Health England support the use of vaping in reducing instances of smoking amongst adults in the UK. A PHE study showed that vaping is 95% less harmful then smoking.

The IBVTA therefore take the stance that people should be educated and informed about the safety of vape devices so that they can make informed decisions about whether vaping is right for them in their bid to quit smoking.

The IBVTA post many useful articles looking to address any inaccuracies reported about vaping. So if you want to stay up to date with the latest news keep an eye on their website.

Vaping in the UK is heavily regulated under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Safety is recognised as being paramount within the UK vaping industry. Producers (anyone who manufactures or imports) of vape devices and e-liquids are required to submit any new products to the MHRA before they can be placed on the market. You can find a list of submitted products on the gov.uk website.

Equally anyone can report safety concerns to the MHRA through a Yellow Card reporting system. Or you can report products believed to be defective or non-compliant with regulations to Trading standards or to TPDsafety@mhra.gov.uk.

Anthony Jones are specialists in vaping insurance. Many insurers may not understand that the risks a vape shop face are very different to those of a standard retailer. So, if you have any questions about getting the right insurance for your vape shop, get in touch with us today

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