‘Exploding e-cigs’ and battery safety

Long-time vaping advocates are growing increasing frustrated with the consistent flood of media reports involving “exploding e-cigs.”  The most recent news story involving an Owensboro, Kentucky man named Josh Hamilton was an instant viral sensation because the entire incident was captured on video surveillance camera.  To the untrained eye, the video looks absolutely frightening.  But for the more experienced vaper, it’s obvious that Hamilton was not following the proper protocol of optimal battery safety.  Here are three common mistakes that newbies often make.

exploding e-cig battery

(Courtesy CNN.com)

Storing your vape pen in your pocket…along with other metal objects (like coins and car keys).

Normally, this would not be a problem.  But when the vaper is experimenting with building their own coils, sometimes miniature explosions can occur if the resistance levels are too low and exceed the battery’s amperage limit.  Other people like to carry spare batteries around in their pocket without the use of a battery case.  With both ends of the battery exposed to the coins, car keys, and other metal objects floating around in your pocket, it is far too easy to complete the circuit of the expose battery accidentally.  The result?  BLAMMO!

Putting the battery in backwards.

If you install new batteries into the kitchen flashlight backwards, then the contraption simply doesn’t work.  With vaping technology, this is not always the case.  Some vape mods have a feature called “reverse polarity protection.”  Others do not.  For the ones that don’t, putting the battery in backwards can lead to an instanteous POP!   Not only will you ruin your battery, but your poor vape mod is likely going to suffer some damage, as well.

Using the wrong (or someone else’s) battery charger.

It’s not unusual to borrow a friend’s iPhone charger when away from home, but with vaping technology, switching battery chargers can be very hazardous.   For example, using an iPhone charger with a tiny ego battery can cause it to overcharge and potentially burst.   Meanwhile, some of the cheaper 18650 chargers on the market today are cheap for a reason.  They don’t offer the overcharge protection of the more reputable brands.  For vapers who don’t want to be the next victim of an exploding e-cigs video, the best possible safety practice is to always use the charger that comes with the device.


Vaping is becoming so popular so fast that many people are making some terrible assumptions about the technology.  We’ve grown up in an age where carrying a cell phone in our pocket is a common practice, so we don't even think twice about carrying an even smaller vape mod in the very same way.  But a vape mod is NOT a smartphone.  We can’t charge the vape pen using our friend’s charger, and we must be more careful when inserting new batteries and storing the technology.  By following proper battery safety guidelines, perhaps news stories of exploding e-cigs will become a thing of the past.

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