Numerous incidence of e-cigarette explosion have been reported in the media of late. The accidents have become more common that medical personnel treating patients for the emergency are wondering why it is happening.
The danger of e-cigarette explosion was further highlighted when a man from Kentucky suffered second-degree burns after his device blew up in his pocket, while a man from Miami had to undergo a medically-induced coma because his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth. CBS News reported that these cases happened in a matter of a week in February, thus raising the alarm bells for e-cigarette use.
"We really feel like this is the tip of the iceberg as we're becoming more aware of this injury," said Dr. Elisha Brownson via King 5 News. "We're actually not even aware of the true incidents of how frequent this may be happening around the country."
Over 25 different cases involving e-cigarette explosions were documented in a 2014 report from the U.S. Fire Admiration. Two of these injuries resulted in serious burns.
Market Watch cited that e-cigarettes have lithium ion battery similar to devices like hoverboards, cellphones and laptops. This battery is packed with electrolytes that can overheat, which can lead to the explosion. The e-cigarettes' cylindrical shape also contribute to the overheating because it is like a rocket that's ready to fire. But vaping experts said the worst case only happens when the user is improperly charging the device. "When used and charged properly, [e-cigarettes] pose no more of a fire risk than other products that use lithium ion batteries," said American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley.
Some suggest that manufacturers should change the battery in e-cigarettes. "There is a well-controlled charging circuit and there should be a good package that the cell lives in. Both of those things should be designed to protect the user," said engineer and science professor Jay Whitacre, via WMAZ.
At the moment, there is no regulating body for e-cigarettes as the Food and Drug Administration has no say over non-nicotine items.