The e-cigarette is a helpful tool for smokers. It provides the nicotine of a cigarette, but without all of the toxins and carcinogens normally associated with tobacco cigarettes. An e-cigarette, or "vape" as it is commonly known as, relies on a re-chargeable battery to heat up flavored liquid to the point of vaporization, which is then inhaled by the user. An e-cigarette is supposed to encompass both the feel of smoking, as well as supply the same nicotine as a cigarette. These devices can be helpful tools for quitting cigarettes, however, recent reports show something every e-cigarette user should be cautious about.
More and more reports have come in showing the hidden danger of these devices. E-cigarettes are seemingly prone to violent explosion and injury to the user. An Oklahoma man has recently been hospitalized due to his e-cigarette literally exploding in his face. An Alabama man suffered incredibly severe injuries after his device exploded in his mouth. Because the use of these devices requires inhalation and proximity to the user's face, an explosive malfunction can be the source of a very serious injury to the user. The irony is that the device meant to curb one health hazard, presents another, possibly an even more serious hazard.
A Possible Cause
E-cigarettes, unlike their tobacco counterparts, are for the most part an unregulated market. As of 2015, the FDA has not yet implemented any legislation that heavily affects the production and distribution of these devices. Doing so, in fact, would be a tough process. Many e-cigarette manufacturers rely on a myriad of parts sourced from several places around the globe. In general, the cheaper the parts, the worse they will perform.
The most volatile part of an e-cigarette is the battery. These devices are operated by a re-chargeable lithium-ion battery. These types of batteries also power portable charging units and older laptops. These types of batteries are actually considered a fire hazard by TSA and are not allowed on planes. For e-cigarette users, the batteries are often the cause of fire or explosion. Many stores that specialize in the sale of e-cigarettes also carry spare batteries to change out so users can have prolonged usage of their devices. In one case, the batteries were plainly sold without instruction, warning, or even packaging and caused a fire in a man's pocket.
Irresponsible manufacturing, parts outsourcing and failure to safety test these products has been resulting in injury and pain for many across the country. There is no reason that someone trying to better their quality of life and quit tobacco should have to suffer an explosion to their face or body in order to do so. Without any FDA stance on how these devices should be regulated, we are going to continue to see e-cigarette companies making a quick and easy buck by using cheap and possibly defective hardware.