Once every few months, you’ll see a news item in the media or online about an electronic cigarette blowing up or starting a fire. This perpetuates the idea that e-cigarettes are unsafe and discourages smokers from taking them up instead of smoking, and rightly so - if you heard that something starts fires, and you don’t hear anything else about it, you would think the same thing.
As with cigarettes, there are fire hazards involved with e-cigarettes - although not as many because there is no open flame. If you drop your e-cigarette or vaping kit, it can’t light anything on fire. But, they have to be treated with care as they contain both combustibles and very delicate electronics - and it is usually user error that starts fires.
#1 Reason E-Cigs Blow Up - Improper Charging
80% of all explosions happen while charging, according to FEMA. FEMA also states in the linked report that “fires or explosions caused by e-cigarettes are rare.” These explosions almost always occur when the user does not use the supplied charger that came with their e-cigarette, and are charging them on things like USB ports on computers, printers or other electronic devices with USB ports. They are not designed to be charged on these devices.
USB Cords are not created equal
It’s easy to think that one USB cord is the same as another one, but that is rarely the case. There are several different levels of charge and voltage for various USB ports and devices. Even if you have been successful in charging an e-cigarette or vaping device using a standard USB cord in the past, you should not continue to do so. Plugging an e-cigarette into a standard USB cord rather than using the cord supplied by the manufacturer runs the risk of overcharging, which overloads the battery and could lead to a mini-explosion.
If you lose the USB charger supplied by the manufacturer, you should replace it with one ordered from the same manufacturer, specified for your device. If you lose the factory-supplied charger and a new charger is not available from the manufacturer, you should replace your device. While it’s inconvenient to do so, this has been proven to be the most common safety hazard with electronic cigarettes, so it’s worth the inconvenience to do it right.
If you did not receive a charger with your device, if your device doesn’t come with a charger (or if you need a separate charger to keep more batteries on standby), purchase a charger that is rated for the electrical load of your device - see our selection of vape batteries and chargers here, or you can pick one up in most vape shops.
Purchase devices from reliable manufacturers
That ecigarette that you pick up from a variety store or a gas station from a nondescript manufacturer may not be the best choice, for either a good vape or safety. Stick to reliable manufacturers such as Kanger or other brands recommended by your fellow vapers. E-cigarettes and vaping kits require proper engineering and design for safety, and a product made to be the cheapest available may not be the most reliable for safety.
Use the same caution you did while smoking
Vaping is inherently safer than smoking. You can’t set something on fire if you drop your e-cigarette on it, nor will the coil continue to burn if your vaping kit is not in use. There aren’t hot ashes in an ashtray to worry about dumping either. However, since a vaping kit is still a combustible electronic device, you will want to avoid using it around oxygen-producing equipment such as you may find in a hospital or retirement home.
For more information on keeping your vaping experience safe, see this helpful post from IEC.