In the last month, there have been numerous reports of exploding e-cigs that are beginning to raise concerns on the safety of electronic cigarettes, even in the dedicated vaping community. The headlines report scary and dangerous situations at the hand of e-cigarettes, but is there really any need to worry or is this just another story blown out of proportion by the sensationalized media?
The most popular stories as of late come out of Orange County, California where two men have recently experienced the e-cig exploding phenomenon first hand. The most recent example of this story is of a gentlemen by the name of Chris Brookins, who is now saying he is completely done with all e-cigarettes after his modified vape device exploded in his hand only mere seconds after he pulled it away from his face.
Sure, swearing off e-cigarettes after an experience like this makes sense for a lot of people, but Brookins is not a casual user, he is the owner of a vaping store and what some would consider an expert on the subject. Nonetheless, knowing full well the benefit of e-cigs, he told the Orange County Register that he was ready to swear off the devices all together saying, “I’m done. I quit.”
The reports that are coming out now sound just as scary as all the other ones you’ve heard in the past. The reporters use words like shrapnel and shards of metal to explain the device’s explosive demise. And while the reports do milk it for every word they can, that doesn’t change the fact that an exploding e-cigarette is not something anyone should have to experience. People chose to vape to be healthier, not to allow more risk and danger into their lives.
Brookins was always a vaping advocate. He knew full well the numerous advantages of e-cigs, which is why he and his friend, Sean Schoepflin, opened GreenNicotine, an e-cigarette business in Tucson in 2008. Schoepflin, however, has also stopped using e-cigarettes after Brookins’s experience. Schoepflin, like many others, knows the real risk isn’t the e-cigarettes themselves, but the lack of manufacturing standards, saying, “A lot of people cut safety corners to make more money.”
A simple statement, but true nonetheless. When a vast majority of e-cigarette devices on the market are made in China, consumers have the right to be scared. It is estimated that 90% of all e-cigarette products sold are manufactured in China. In the year 2014, China shipped an estimated 300 million e-cigarettes to the United States and Europe. The lack of manufacturing standards in many of these e-cig factories has unfortunately flooded the market with unsafe, substandard product; that can lead to stories like the one of Brookins and his exploding MOD.
Now it isn’t clear what device he had exactly, or where it was manufactured: and we really don’t know what sort of modification were made on the device that could have contributed to its explosion. However, the reality is this is not the first time something like this has happened and every other time it has comes back to either poor manufacturing or improper voltage being used for charging. It is clear that is it not the invention itself that is faulty, but in reality it is either user or manufacturer error.
SO what is a vaper to do? Some people, like Brookins and Schoepflin, decide to just quit. Which is probably okay, assuming they do not go back to regular cigarettes. But how likely is that? In reality, the best thing to do if you want to vape safely is known your manufacturer and buy American. Buying made in the USA products is good for a variety of reasons, most of which are plain as day.
Most importantly, however, in the absences of FDA regulation, manufacturers in America must still adhere to the country’s stricter manufacturing guidelines. Conditions in the US are cleaner and safer, and all around better than the majority of substandard Chinese manufacturers with products on the market. That is not to be said that there are not clean, safe and well working Chinese e-cigarette products, there are plenty, but to ensure safety, buying US made is a truly intelligent vaping choice.
While we still wait for the FDA is issue the regulation that will hopefully keep exploding e-cigs as a thing of the past, we can still make smart decisions as consumers. Writing off e-cigarettes all together is not realistic or a smart decision for the general public health. When a certain brand of food say chicken for instance, has a recall, or has made some people sick, do we stop eating all chicken? No we do not, we just buy as educated consumers, and that is exactly what e-cig users need to do as well. Research your manufacturers, research your brands, and buy Made in the USA.