Jun 10, 2024

Stay Safe: Preventing Vape Battery and Fire Explosions

Stay Safe: Preventing Vape Battery and Fire Explosions

Vapes, also known as vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes or e-cigs, e-cigars, and e-pipes, no matter the name by now, you’ve either seen one while checking out of the grocery store or have noticed the scented plumes of smoke at some point or another. But what exactly are vapes, and why have we seen more and more of an influx of vape battery fires and explosions? Below, we are breaking down everything you need to know about vapes and how you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from harm. 

 

Breaking Down the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Vapes

Vapes were initially created to help curb the use of traditional cigarettes, as a U.S. patent application submitted in 1963 by Herbert A. Gilbert specifically claimed the “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” aimed to provide a “safe and harmless means for and method of smoking” by replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air. At the time, the Vapes, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), were originally manufactured to resemble conventional combusted cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. However, today, most resemble pens or USB flash drives.

These END products use an “e-liquid” that typically contains nicotine derived from tobacco, flavorings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other ingredients. When heated, the liquid creates an aerosol that the user inhales. In 2014, it was reported that e-cigarettes officially surpassed conventional cigarettes as the most commonly used tobacco product among youths in the United States. While these e-cigarettes were generally promoted as a “lower-risk alternative” for adults who smoke cigarettes, the use of e-cigarettes is not entirely risk-free.

Along with becoming a public health concern surrounding the harmful side effects of e-liquids, many are raising concerns over the dangers the machine itself poses, as thousands have reported suffering severe explosion and fire injuries. 

 

How Often Do Vapes Explode?

You may have heard by now that vapes can catch fire or explode, leaving those using the vape and the people around them in danger of receiving severe or even life-threatening injuries. While some may try to convince you that vape explosions may be uncommon, a study published in 2018 found over 2,000 e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries had sent users to the emergency room from 2015 to 2017. The study also concluded the number of e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries reported may be higher, as the surveillance of e-cigarette injuries and regulation of e-cigarette devices is running unchecked. 

 

Why Do Vapes Explode?

As for the exact cause of vape fires or explosions, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the leading cause stems from battery-related issues, as most vapes are primarily powered by either an internal or external lithium battery.

Internal batteries: Most commonly found in disposable vape devices or smaller, pen-style vapes, internal batteries are built into the device and cannot be removed. This allows users to simply recharge their devices when the battery runs low; however, once the battery's lifespan is exhausted, the entire device needs to be replaced. Certain disposable vapes that are labeled as single-use and must also be properly disposed of once the battery dies. 

External batteries: Commonly found in larger, more high-powered mods, external batteries are also rechargeable. However, unlike an internal battery, they can be removed from the device and recharged independently. External vapes provide users the option to simply replace or recharge the battery once it dies rather than needing to replace the entire device, making it a more economical and environmentally friendly option.

While both battery types offer different conveniences for the vape user, both do hold fairly similar risks should they be mishandled, improperly stored, or disposed of, as they can cause a short circuit. But what makes a short circuit so dangerous? Short circuits, or shorts, happen when electricity takes an unintended path and produces an excessive current. Should a loose lithium battery come into contact with metal objects such as keys or spare change, a short circuit can occur.  However, in some cases, metal objects can connect the positive and negative terminals of the battery, creating a path for the electric current that bypasses the regular circuit, causing a rapid leading to a sudden release of energy. 

Vapes, which, as we have mentioned, typically carry an external or internal lithium battery, are prime examples of objects susceptible to shorting. Many users tend to store their e-cigarettes in their pockets, purses, and backpacks, where most items like keys, spare change, and other metal objects are often stored for safekeeping. In the best-case scenario, should your vape experience a short, it can result in a dead battery. However, in the worst-case scenario, this energy release can cause the battery to heat up rapidly, potentially leading to a fire or explosion, as vapes contain flammable e-liquids.

 

What Injuries Do Vape Explosions Cause?

Whether it be poorly manufactured batteries, using the wrong charger, damaging batteries, or the mishandling of vape batteries, such as exposure to extreme temperatures or physical damage, it can all lead to dangerous and even life-threatening malfunctions. Late last year, Dave Johnson, a father of two,  fell victim to an exploding vape battery after he kept his vape in his pocket, 'It shorted on my keys in my pocket and exploded. I heard a fizzing sound, almost like when a firework rocket started to go off, and then felt the pain.” 

Some of our clients have also fallen victim to the dangers of vape batteries. In January, one client located in Sarasota, Florida, reported they experienced an electronic cigarette battery explosion in their pocket, which led to 2nd-degree and 3-degree burns on their right leg and right hand. Some of the most commonly reported vape battery explosion or fire injuries include burns, broken teeth, brain injuries, vision loss, seizures, and, in some cases, death. 

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to a vape battery explosion or fire, do not wait to seek medical attention, as your injuries may lead to severe or even life-threatening consequences. If you have lost a loved one due to a vape battery explosion, contact an attorney for help to learn more about what your legal options are. 

 

How You Can Keep Yourself Safe From Vape Battery Explosions

Now that we know what the potential safety risks behind vape batteries are, what can we do to help keep ourselves out of harm's way? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) webpage, “Tips to Help Avoid ‘Vape’ Battery Explosions,”  your best protection against vape battery fires or explosions may be knowing as much as possible about your device and how to handle and charge its batteries properly. As listed on their website, here are some of the tips they recommend you follow to help keep you and your loved ones safe around vapes. 

  • Read and understand the manufacturer's recommendations for using and caring for your device. If your vape did not come with instructions or you have questions, contact the manufacturer.
  • Only use batteries recommended for your device. Do not mix different brands of batteries or use batteries with different charge levels. 
  • Charge your vape on a clean, flat surface, away from anything that can easily catch fire. Steer clear of places it may accidentally get turned on and or overheat.
  • Keep your vape away from extreme temperature changes, such as leaving it in direct sunlight, in your car on a hot summer day, or on a freezing cold night. 
  • Don't vape around flammable gasses or liquids, such as oxygen, propane, or gasoline, as it may cause a larger fire or explosion.
  • Make sure you know how and where to safely dispose of your old e-cigarette or its batteries.

Following the tips listed above can help save you and your loved ones from potentially experiencing severe or even life-threatening injuries. However, if you have suffered an injury due to a vape battery explosion or fire, contacting an attorney can help you best determine what your legal options are. 

 

Those Who Have Been Injured by Exploding Vape Batteries Should Connect With an Attorney

Vape battery explosions can lead to severe or even life-threatening injuries that can completely turn your life upside down. However, after a fire or explosion, you do not have to face the aftermath of your injuries alone. At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys know how difficult it can be to try and recover after you’ve suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to a vape battery fire or explosion. With over 35 years of experience, our attorneys are more than ready to help you not only get back on your feet but also fight back against those who have caused you harm.

You can learn more about how a Morgan & Morgan attorney may be able to help you and your loved ones after a vape fire or explosion injury by completing our free, no-obligation case evaluation form today. As mentioned, your case evaluation will be completely free of charge, and should your case be a fit for our law firm and you decide to hire us, you’ll never have to worry about the cost of hiring an attorney.