Posted March 31, 2016 by Daniel Archibald-Jones in Information & Articles

Why Do E Cig Batteries Explode?

If there’s ever one story that’s a certainty to make the news it’s going to be a horror story of an electronic cigarette battery exploding, whether it’s on charge or actually in use.

As electronic cigarettes are a relatively new phenomena, they automatically come under greater scrutiny when it comes to issues regarding safety, indeed the same is true for many devices (remember the short lived scaremongering over exploding iPhones a few years ago?).

However it has happened and as such it’s important to look into why occasionally such explosions occur, as in almost every case such incidents can be easily prevented.

e-cig-explosion-reasonsUsing The Wrong Charger

FEMA – a US based public health body – conducted a major investigation into the spate of seemingly spontaneous electronic cigarette explosions, and found that in 88% of cases they occurred while the battery was charging.

In the vast majority of these cases it was found that the issue arose because the charger wasn’t designed for the battery that it was attached too, leading to short circuits that resulted occasionally resulted in the unit bursting into flame.

Anyone who takes the time to read the literature that accompanies an e cig kit will notice that every manufacturer stresses how important it is to only use charging equipment supplied with the product.

This is also true for a huge range of other electrical products – as just because a charger happens to ‘fit’ into a device it wasn’t intended to be compatible with doesn’t mean that it should be used! E cigs charge at different voltages, and components should never be mixed up.

A key issue here surrounds the use of USB charging systems, where it can be tempting to connect the electronic cigarette battery to a wall mounted phone adapter rather than into a stable device such as a PC or docking station, or best of all the wall adapter supplied within most kits. This is another example of using components that aren’t designed to be compatible with the e cig, and should always be avoided.

Poor Quality Lithium Batteries

This issue was more common in the early days of electronic cigarettes before licensing standards were so rigourously enforced, yet can still potentially present an issue with cheap low quality batteries. Lithium based batteries comprised of poor components, inadequately manufactured or simply damaged through misuse can become prone to overheating and igniting – once again, especially when connected to a charging source.

For this reason alone it’s always good practice to buy from a recognized brand that will have undergone thorough safety testing in the UK. Remember also that lithium batteries are also used in a huge number of other devices too – including cameras, phones and laptops – so the issue is hardly unique to e cigs alone.

Poorly Configured Mods

Most people who use box mod systems tend to know what they’re doing and understand e cigs better than the majority, however there are some cases where fires have been caused by cutting corners.

As these devices often require precise fine tuning in regards to using appropriate batteries, it’s surprisingly common for users to attach inappropriate batteries and even forget to remove the paper wrapping that comes as part of the package.

So as we can see the majority of issues with exploding e cigs occur because of irresponsible charging, using poor quality components and simple negligence.

All of these risks can be easily avoided, and remember that combustible cigarettes are responsible for dozens of serious fires in the UK every year. Compared to them, electronic cigarettes of any style are incredibly more safe.