What Causes a Vape to Explode?
Generally, the cause of a vape battery explosion is simple: when a lithium-ion batter becomes too hot, the highly flammable liquid contained within can combust. Such combustion may injure the hand or face of the person using the product, set their clothing or home on fire, or send dangerous shrapnel pieces flying, which could easily cause permanent eye damage or facial scarring.
In order to help avoid battery explosion, here are guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on past product malfunctions:
- Use products with safety features like vent holes, firing button locks, and battery overcharge protections
- Keep loose batteries in a case so they don’t come into contact with metal like keys, coins, or rivets/zippers on clothing
- Only charge your vape with the charger it came with — do not use your phone or electronic tablet as a power source
- Don’t let your vape charge overnight or unattended
- Replace any battery that is damaged or gets wet, and if your product does not come with replaceable batteries, contact the manufacturer for customer support
Other guidelines include avoiding extreme temperatures for your vape, i.e. don’t leave it on a hot car dashboard or on a window sill in freezing weather. Don’t mix and match vape chargers, batteries, or cartridges as they do not adhere to a standard design and could conflict. When you do charge your vape, it’s advised to leave it on a non-flammable surface instead of something that could catch fire like a couch. Keep vapes far from flammable liquids like gasoline or propane at all times.
Additionally, there are more guidelines for flying with vape products, including only transporting them in carry-on luggage and refraining from charging or using them during the duration of your flight.
The guidelines consumers have to follow to avoid being harmed by their vape products could be considered “onerous” under the law, meaning they are burdens or obligations that counterbalance or outweigh the advantages of using vapes in the first place. You deserve a fully safe product, not a hazardous device with safety guidelines you may have never received.
Is It Common for Vapes to Explode?
According to a report by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), vape fires or explosions caused by e-cigarettes are relatively rare. The statistics state that:
- More than 2.5 million Americans use electronic cigarettes
- There were 25 separate incidents of explosion and fire involving an e-cigarette reported by U.S. media in a five-year span consisting of 9 injuries
- Most of the incidents occurred while the battery was plugged in and actively charging
This is information based on reported incidents, and likely does not paint a full picture of the close calls, singes, minor injuries, and containable fires or sparks. It is also important to remember that injuries from vape battery explosions are often highly serious and frightening.
Here are examples of recent horrific injuries that occurred when the vape battery was off the charger or actively in use:
- California: A woman from the San Francisco Bay Area suffered severe burns on her arm and body after a spare vape battery ignited in her purse.
- Florida: A man underwent surgery after sustaining second- and third-degree burns after a vape pen exploded in his pocket.
- Ohio: A Cleveland man was rushed to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns when a spare vape battery in his pocket combusted.
- Utah: A 17-year-old boy suffered a shattered jaw and blown-out teeth after an e-cigarette exploded while in use.
- Tennessee: A young man suffered broken teeth and facial tissue injuries after an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth, an injury requiring 65 stitches and leaving him unable to work for weeks.
These were the few survivable injuries in a short two-year span. During that same time, two deaths were caused by vape explosions: a Texas man was killed when an exploding vape pen severed an artery in his neck just weeks before his 25th birthday, and a Florida man died when exploding shrapnel from a vape entered his brain. A wrongful death lawyer can help families file vape battery explosion lawsuits on behalf of their deceased loved one.
Injuries of this magnitude should not just be rare, they should be impossible. It is important to report every dangerous experience, and absolutely imperative that consumers hold vape companies accountable for all injuries, damages, and losses of money, time, or peace of mind. Burn wounds to a person’s face, hands, or body can change the course of their future. The trauma associated with such injuries can last for the rest of their life.
Without consequences for corporations, companies have very little incentive to recall, redesign, or improve their safety and testing standards before average Americans are hurt.
Vape companies like Juul have been held liable for millions of dollars across thousands of lawsuits throughout the United States, and ordered to pay consumers, governments, and tribes for the harm they’ve caused. You deserve to have your voice heard, too.