It’s alarming for vapers and our friends to turn on the news and see yet another story on an exploding vape pens or vape batteries. Shoddily manufactured and poorly maintained e-cigarettes can be a serious hazard. Here are some tips on which ones are troublesome and how to protect yourself.
It’s the Battery
The cause of the problem is the battery. Most e-cigarettes are powered by lithium-ion batteries like the ones in your cell phone or camera. It’s the battery which heats up the chemical solution to turn it into vapor when you puff or press a switch. When left in pressurized areas such as overcrowded luggage compartments, lithium-ion batteries pose a fire hazard.
While the chance of e-cig batteries failing in normal conditions is very low, the cylindrical design of e-cigs and their batteries means that they are structurally vulnerable due to weak end points. When the seal at the end of the battery ruptures, the pressure builds and ruptures the end of the battery case, propelling the container across the room.
Overheating, short circuits and overcharging are common causes of a battery malfunction. The safety features in e-cigs, which are designed to prevent such malfunctions are often overlooked as users assume that the USB port is compatible with any cable and charger, especially third party ones which may overcharge the battery and run the risk of overheating.
Buying the Right Battery
With upcoming FDA regulations of vaping, parts including “certain batteries” will be covered under new guidelines on safety requirements, including labels informing users only to recharge with certain chargers. But there are steps you can take now in purchasing for safety. Batteries should not be overpowered for the device they’re being used in and should be of high quality: check vaping forums and ask stockists for information on which batteries to buy, the history of certain brands etc.
Ticking the Boxes
There are many boxes to tick when looking for e-cig paraphernalia. High capacity units will require less recharging, which is handy for the forgetful type. Higher voltage units will get you a higher volume of vapor but will not necessary impact how the battery runs. Staying with a manufacturer’s provided charger is usually the safest bet. Look for flavors contained in air-tight squeeze bottles like those at one hit wonder to avoid spillage. Finally, the operating temperature is the most crucial factor because it determines how long the battery will last and high operating temperatures can lead to premature aging and damage to the battery.
Clean your battery and terminal contents with tissue or alcohol wipes if it’s dirty and turn the battery off when not using the device. Don’t leave it charging overnight. Make sure you only plug your e-cig into good USB ports (the manufacturer’s user manual typically includes specifications). If your battery overheats, make sure it’s safe to handle and move it away from flammable objects onto a non-combustible surface. If you think your battery might be damaged, take it to an electronics service center.
If you get your paraphernalia from established, quality brands and check the relevant forums and stockists beforehand, you can select for safety first. Vape safe!
Jayden Harper offers support for people who are trying to quit cigarettes. His articles discuss why vaping might be the way forward, especially if people have failed to quit before.