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Will my e-cigarette really blow up in my face?

Ever walk around one day wondering if the e-cigarette you covet so much will blow up right in your face? We’ll highlight some of the possibilities below.

e-cigarette
Image: Vaping360

Google “e-cigarettes” and it won’t take you long to find a scary tale that ends in the poor vaper being scarred or burnt. It’s enough to make you wonder: “will my e-cigarette really blow up in my face?”

The answer? No, probably not.  

Unfortunately, e-cigarettes are still very controversial, and the media hop onto this at every opportunity that they get. The result is misleading stories that are enough to convince anyone that e-cigarettes are harmful. However, we know that’s not the case. So what’s the real story?

How Do E-Cigarettes Work?

Vapourisers (such as pen-style e-cigs and mods) are the most popular kind of e-cigarette device. Suitable for beginners as well as more experienced vapers, they are composed of three main components: the tank, which holds the e-liquid; the atomizer, the heating component which produces the vapour; and the battery, which powers the device. By inhaling through the mouthpiece, the atomiser heats up the e-liquid to the point that it produces a water vapour, creating the artificial smoke.

The Battery

E-cigarettes contain a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery which is commonly used in portable devices. This includes your laptop, tablet and even your phone. Favoured by manufacturers for their size, Li-ion batteries store a large amount of energy in a small space, which allows smaller devices to increasingly retain a longer charge.

How Do They Explode?

The problem with having a battery so small is that the components can easily become damaged. The two ends of the battery — the anode and the cathode — are kept apart by a small separator. If this deteriorates, the shutdown separator, which can shut down the battery if it becomes too hot, can fail. This can result in the battery overheating, making it more prone to explode.

How Common Is This?

How many times has your laptop or smartphone exploded? More than likely, it hasn’t. That’s because fortunately, these incidents are incredibly rare. Back in 2006, a 1-in-200,000 breakdown in lithium-ion batteries caused a recall of over six million battery packs. Since then, this has been reduced to one in ten million, which makes it even less likely that your battery will explode.

Why the Media Backlash?

E-cigarette explosions are rare, but with so many lithium-ion batteries produced, and millions of consumers using batteries, it’s inevitable that sooner or later, failures will happen. And when they do, they hit the news. It’s a scary thought that the devices we use every day could hurt us, and scary stories sell. The sudden deluge of e-cigarette explosions can seem concerning, but it’s a simple case that they’re not very common, and so lithium-ion batteries seem more dangerous than they really are.

How Can You Prevent Your E-Cigarette from Exploding?

E-cigarette explosions can be terrifying, but there are precautions you can take to prevent damage.

Don’t Drop Your Batter

The best way to prevent any chance that your battery could explode is to safeguard against damage. If you drop your e-cigarette, whether on the ground or in water, you should buy a replacement battery immediately. The same goes for if it gets dented, pierced or burned. A knock can be enough to dislodge the separators and could be disastrous.

Use a Carry Case

An e-cigarette carry case doesn’t have to be expensive, and they can look stylish too. Aside from the aesthetic benefit, a case will help protect your e-cigarette device. It may be tempting to keep your e-cigarette in your pocket for easy access, but a knock from keys, items in your bag or even another person can damage the battery.

Buy from a Reputable Retailer

Buying your battery and device from a reputable retailer will ensure quality, and these Li-ion batteries will also have protection from short-circuiting and a shut off system in case it gets too hot. Many reputable vaping retailers sell spare branded batteries, such as the Vype, Innokin and Blu e-cig batteries.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions

It’s vital that you follow the instructions for charging and using your e-cigarette. Many e-cigarettes state that they shouldn’t be charged for an extended amount of time and you should always use the charger supplied with your device. It’s also important to replace the battery often.

In general, e-cigarette batteries will last for up to 250 recharges, and towards the end of their life you can expect fewer puffs from a charge and an increased risk of damage. Depending on how heavily you vape, it’s recommended you replace the battery every 30 to 120 days for the best experience and, of course, for safety.

Buying new batteries regularly can make you feel like you’re spending a small fortune, but they are cost-effective and an investment into the life of your e-cigarette. Understanding why these explosions happen and taking these steps will reduce the small likelihood that the same will happen to you.

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