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Many people hail vaping as a safer substitute for cigarettes, arguing that there’s no tobacco smoke, so it’s have got to be safer. It remains to be seen if that’s true, and there is some evidence the stuff inside vapes and e-cigs is toxic. But beyond that, there’s the simple fact these matters occasionally blow up.

You hadn’t found out about this? Some pretty gruesome reports are beginning to accumulate. In November, a male in Colorado broke his neck, lost some teeth, and suffered burns and facial fractures when his e-cigarette exploded. A 15-year-old California boy lost half 12 teeth in the similar mishap last month. In Tennessee, another teen is recuperating from the severe burns caused when a vape pen starter kit no nicotine caught fire within his pocket a few weeks ago.

Statistics outlining exactly how prevalent this is certainly remain thin, although the Federal Emergency Management Agency, of most things, identified 25 cases of e-cigarette explosions in the united states between 2009-2014. However, that list relies only on incidents reported from the media. Provided that vaping’s seen a surge in popularity consequently-this past year, the CDC reported a three-fold increase among middle- and school students alone-the amount more than likely is rising. A quick Google search shows at the very least 12 explosions in 2015 alone.

As opposed to burning tobacco, vape pens and e-cigs utilize a small lithium-ion battery to heat an aerosol cartridge to discharge a vapor that’s inhaled. As in any device which utilizes lithium-ion batteries, it is possible to run into problems when the battery is damaged or put through extremes in temperature. A brief circuit may cause battery to overheat, catch fire, and even explode. These issues have a tendency to exist in cheap consumer gadgets which can be quickly churned out from factories. All in all, it’s relatively rare, but obviously it takes place-recently, in hoverboard scooters.

“With lithium-ion batteries in general, when you operate one outside its safety window, there’s a tendency where things could go wrong,” says Venkat Viswanathan, who teaches mechanical engineering Carnegie Mellon University. That window is startlingly small: Viswanathan says batteries are best kept between 50 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s February, and all sorts of but four US states are averaging temperatures below 50 right now.

In some cases, the thing is compounded by cheap lithium-ion batteries that “don’t get the luxury of making use of sophisticated management systems,” Viswanathan says. That can lead to dangerously over- or under-charged batteries. Dendrite is yet another potential problem. Dendrite is actually a conductive filament that will form over the course of boxmmod charge/discharge cycles, particularly if the battery is rapidly charged. These things can spread just like a weed, eventually bridging the electrodes and creating a short circuit. “You have basically something similar to gasoline inside of your lithium-ion battery,” Viswanathan says, “therefore immediately it catches fire.”

Lithium-ion batteries power a great deal of gadgets obviously, and frequently do this without trouble. But stuff like cell phones and laptops and electric vehicles typically are made to exacting specifications and rigorously tested, both with the company and outside experts. The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association, which represents for vape-makers, stated it “cannot talk with user error or on behalf of a manufacturer for device” and, “If you find truly a challenge by using a specific device, just like a lap top or mobile phone manufacturer, that company should go ahead and take appropriate action.”

As well as to be fair, it’s not unusual for users to modify their box mod vape, and a variety of websites offer tips on how to do exactly that. The industry trade group duly notes that hacked and modded devices can pose a safety risk.

All of these begs the question what, if something, is being done concerning this. Most regulatory discussions about e-cigarettes and vapes target the Food and Drug Administration’s critique in the chemicals found in the devices. The FDA is going to introduce rules regulating the industry, a move that may classify electric cigarettes and vaping products just like tobacco. Products would carry warning labels, sales to minors would be banned, and you’d see restrictions on stuff like offering free samples. But little has been said about the safety of the devices.

The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association says it supports “reasonable science-based regulations,” but opposes everything that might “stifle innovation.” But it argues “e-cigs and vapor merchandise is technology products, separate and distinct from combustible tobacco.” They liken these people to electronic products.

That’s where things get tricky. Asked when it has any safety concerns concerning the devices, the individual Products Safety Commission deferred to the FDA, saying it will be the federal regulator in charge there. The FDA does claim responsibility for ensuring the safety of your parts inside the devices which can be found in the intake of cigarettes and tobacco products. But there aren’t lots of safety rules for manufacturers to adhere to, along with the FDA is encouraging people to report any problems.

Viswanathan features a recommendation for companies making what is sub ohm vaping as well as other gadgets that use lithium-ion batteries: Crib from automakers making electric cars. They’ve developed sophisticated systems for minimizing the hazards of problems. “Lithium-ion batteries fundamentally are inclined to catching fire,” he says, “and car makers have realized efficient strategies to create zones where these batteries are secure to work.”

Granted, the percentages that your particular vape pen will blow up just like an exploding cigar are slim. Yet it is possible, so the best option is to buy a quality vape pen coming from a reputable manufacturer. Look into the parts-once they look and feel cheap, they probably are. Viswanathan suggests ensuring it’s got some sort of battery management system to stop shorts and thermal runaway. Be sure you’re utilizing the right battery and charger, and don’t modify anything.