Exploding vape batteries are on the rise, should you be concerned?
For vapers everywhere, headlines, this one included, aren’t likely to ease concerns of exploding batteries, a prospect which has been quite real for the small number of people who have found themselves on the receiving end of their exploding vape batteries, be they in their pockets, on their charges, or in their victim’s mouths.
While such incidents do occur and the number of incidents appear to be on the rise, just how worried should vape users be?
How Often Do Vape Batteries Explode?
Here are the numbers on incidents tracked by the U.S. Fire Administration between a period of 7 years, spanning from 2009 to 2016.
During this period, 1 vape battery reportedly exploded while it was being transported, 18 while they were in storage, 48 while they were being charged, 60 that were in use, and 61 that were in a pocket. Another 7 reportedly exploded, but their locations when they exploded were never reported. This amounts to a total of 195 exploding batteries tracked by the U.S. Fire Administration over the course of 7 years.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which began regulating the electronic cigarette industry back in May of 2016, recorded 66 exploding vapes in 2015 and early 2016 alone. From 2009 to September of 2015, the FDA recorded just 92 explosions.
While lawsuits over exploding vape batteries are also on the rise, the American Vaping Association (AVA) claimed in an interview with Courthouse News that a number of these unintended explosions are caused in large part by user error. In particular, he claims that consumers mishandling their vape mods – doing things like rebuilding their components – is a major factor. He was quoted by Courthouse News as having said that it is “rare to see a case where there was no manipulation of the product.”
“It’s rare to see a case where there was no manipulation of the product, i.e. rebuilding a coil with such low resistance that you’re setting yourself up for danger”
For reference, Lithium-ion (Li-ion/LIB) batteries, which are what most modern portable vapes employ for power sources, have their own history of safety issues that is completely independent of vaporizer safety concerns. Consumer electronics manufacturer Nokia, who makes cell phones among other things, previously issued a major recall for some of its batteries, potentially affecting over 46 million devices at the time. Such issues with the possibility of exploding batteries has been seen in not only cell phones, but laptops as well. Computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard (HP) previously recalled over 100,000 laptop batteries over fire concerns.
Is Manufacturing Quality Improving?
While the numbers clearly show that vape battery explosions are on the rise, what do the numbers say about the quality of the products? Are increased regulations improving consumer safety? These are the questions that we at Vaporizer Wire would love to see answered. By measuring the number of vapes sold on an annual basis and comparing this data on a year-to-year basis to the number of vape explosions recorded each year. This way, we would have a rough idea of how regulatory efforts have impacted the quality control standards of vape manufacturers. Because while the number of explosions are undoubtedly on the rise, we can’t help but be curious just who is largely to blame: consumers fiddling with their products as the AVA seems to think or manufacturers making shoddy products lacking proper quality control.
The other major variable here when we look at these basic numbers provided by two U.S. federal government agencies, and derive a conclusion such as the one seen in the title of this vape news report, “Exploding E-Cigs On The Rise,” is the rise in popularity of vapes themselves. As vaping continues to rise in popularity and exploding batteries remain an issue, it seems only logical to assume that their rise in popularity will coincide with a rise in exploding batteries. Subsequently, we can’t help but wonder whether these incidents are occurring more or less frequently in terms of a percentage of how many vapes are in use.
Vaporizer Wire Wants Something From You
We would love to see the data described above. If someone has access to it, please send it our way so that we can assess and share it with our viewers. Thanks!