That’s what the TVECA stated about electronic cigarettes a few weeks ago.
But if you read it, and you’re like me, you probably thought:
When’s something going to go wrong? Surely it’s only a matter of time!
I mean, how can you use something, no matter how safe, a billion times without someone getting hurt at least once?
Consider these stats:
- ballpoint pens kill on average one hundred people a year
- mobile phones kill 6000 drivers a year in the US alone (texting while driving)
- beds kill 450 people a year (when people fall out of them)
- vending machines kill 13 people a year
Electrifying Battery Stats
And that’s before you get into the area of batteries, an essential component of e-cigarettes:
- 3 Brits die each year testing if a 9v battery works on their tongue.
- 9 people have died from eating batteries since 1985
- dozens of people have injured or killed from exploding mobile phone batteries (I couldn’t find any exact stats – if you can, let me know in the comments!)
- Katherine Devlin, in a short period of time, managed to find reports of 80 reported exploding batteries, 19 injuries, 67 incidents of property damage, and 286,000 recalled bad toys.
In the area of electronic cigarettes, however, an accident was bound to happen at some point.
Modding: an accident waiting to happen
Take a look at this warning from e-cigarette forum:
If not done properly, modding can be dangerous and cause injury should these devices short circuit and explode.
Or this one:
FOLLOWING ANY OF THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS SECTION MAY BE DANGEROUS AND IS ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK
Source: E Cigarette Forum
If you are wondering what modding is, here’s a wikipedia definition:
Modding refers to the act of modifying a piece of hardware or software or anything else for that matter, to perform a function not originally conceived or intended by the designer.
In the electronic cigarette world, not all mods are modified – some companies are selling mass produced mods. Some of these companies are respectable, others not.
Yet we still have a large number of people in the US building/adapting/modifying large electronic cigarettes with powerful batteries, sometimes purchased on the cheap from dodgy sources. When someone doesn’t know what they are doing, that carries a large risk of explosion.
While we don’t know for sure, it appears that’s may what have happened here.
The Exploding Electronic Cigarette: What happened, and why we think it happened
Florida based Tom Holloway had settled down to enjoy a quiet vape in his study.
That was until his electronic cigarette battery exploded, knocking out his front teeth and part of his tongue, showering red hot metal over the room and setting the room on fire.
Investigating, fireman found a charger – and the type of batteries used in mods.
Unlike regular e-cigarette batteries, these batteries do NOT have the safety circuitry and cut offs needed to keep vapers safe.
We don’t know for sure that he was using a mod – but it seems like a strong possibility.
(Source: UK Vapers)
How not to get your head blown off by an exploding electronic cigarette battery
While no risk can be eliminated absolutely, whether with ball point pens, beds or with e-cigarettes, the following tips can help ensure your safety.
- Keep batteries away from extreme heat.
- Use batteries from retailers certified by ECITA. Batteries from these retailers have ROHS and CE approval, and cut off mechanisms designed to keep them from overheating.
- ALWAYS use the battery with the charger supplied. This is the biggest risk, IMO, as it’s possible to have different e-cigarettes and get chargers mixed up.
- Unless you know what you are doing, don’t modify e-cigarettes, and don’t mess around with the batteries.
- If you’re still worried, use a regular e-cigarette – according to an engineer I spoke to, if things went badly wrong with them, they don’t have enough power to do much more than go POP.
While the incident is alarming, it’s worth remembering that smoking kills around one in three smokers. (Eventually!)
In contrast, one e-cig user out of over a million (in the US alone) has suffered a non-fatal injury using an electric cigarette in the most dangerous way possible.
It’s terrible for Tom (and we hope he gets better!) – but which would you prefer:
A 33% chance of death versus a one in a million chance of injury?