A consumer protection charity is urging those who use e-cigarettes to take extra care when replacing or charging them, as lithium batteries can often malfunction and even explode.
The charity, Electrical Safety First, has shared a video demonstrating the dangers of over-heating batteries in e-cigarettes, and the ferocity with which they can burn.
There has recently been a national recall of certain types of e-cigarettes, after members of the public reported serious burns from over-heating and malfunctioning devices.
You can watch the video here:
The video demonstrates what can happen when a lithium battery overheats due to a fault, creating a Catherine wheel effect. Sparks can be seen erupting from the device during a controlled test, though similar incidents have reportedly occurred while the device is in people’s pockets.
At present, it is estimated there are around 2,000 e-cigarette stores in the UK alone, with around 3 million people now actively using e-cigarettes.
Users of e-cigarettes are being warned against carrying the devices, along with spare batteries, in their pockets or bags next to loose change or other metal items.
Users are also urged to make sure the device is completely turned off or locked against inadvertent activation while it’s being carried in your bag or pocket.
Similar risks can also occur when using incompatible chargers and consumers should ensure they only ever use a charger that is compatible with the device itself. Similarly, users are encouraged to take care when tightening the screw connections to the rechargeable battery. Over-tightening can cause mechanical damage which can in turn create problems related to overheating, product failure or even injury.
Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, said:
The message is simple, we encourage all users of e-cigarettes to vape safe. Our video footage shows the ferocity of a fire caused by an e-cigarette battery overheating which can result in serious harm. Anyone who has concerns they may have a device linked to a recall notice should contact the manufacturer directly or the retailer where they purchased it from.
Advice for e-cigarette users includes: do not modify your device and only use approved replacement parts, ensure devices are not left charging for long periods of time, never leave devices plugged in overnight or while you are out of the house, never keep spare batteries in your pocket – particularly next to keys or coins as they are more likely to cause a fire.
So far, these models of e-cigarettes have been recalled: Smok X Priv kit black and red, Smok Mag kit 220 black prism, Smok X Priv kit chrome, Innokin Proton kit rainbow, Smok Mag kit black and red, Innokin Proton kit black.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.