There have been so many vape stories in the media over the last few weeks. And, in almost every case, they are focussing on the dangers and risks vaping poses – dangers and risks of the explosive kind. We don’t sell batteries but we know a thing or two about them so (in the hope that this article spreads a bit of safety knowledge) here is some advice.
Contrary to popular opinion in Facebook groups, one does not boil a lithium-ion cell in water in order to make it perform better. In fact, it is safe to say that water and batteries are like Wile-E-Coyote and the Roadrunner: they may be found near each other but it will end in pain and suffering. It’s always best to keep all of your vaping equipment away from water altogether.
While vaping offers an excellent way out of smoking it does mean carrying around a tube full of energy in your pocket. In reality, it is no different to the batteries you can find in your laptop computer or mobile phone.
Lithium ion batteries are popular because they store a huge quantity of energy in a relatively slender package, making them ideal for use in personal electrical devices. They do not hold a memory (so don’t need to be totally discharged before recharging) and can go through many charging cycles.
The difference for vaping comes from the fact that batteries are often removed from devices for charging, spares are carried for when one runs flat and devices don’t all come with dedicated chargers.
Findings from a study in America highlighted that over half of the injuries being sustained due to batteries “exploding” occur to the groin and thigh. This indicates that the cells are being placed into trouser pockets. Another sizeable chunk are hand injuries resulting from a person removing a venting cell from a bag.
What is venting?
If the top and bottom of the battery are connected by keys (or coins/other metal objects) in a pocket (or bag), energy is drained from the battery faster than it is able to cope with. Something called thermal runaway takes place, the battery gets very hot and gases are released in an attempt to prevent it going ‘bang’.
Storing batteries in cheap plastic sleeves or boxes can prevent these accidents simply and easily. Amazon is a good source for battery storage boxes if you can’t find them with your preferred vendor.
Other steps you can take in order to ensure you avoid an accident include buying quality cells. Online forums are full of people who will recommend good battery sellers and ideal cells to meet your vaping demands.
Finally, it is vital the cell is recharged using a quality charger (or the equipment provided by your ecig manufacturer). Ask your vendor what they recommend if you are unsure; do not simply plug it into your computer or phone charger.
Finally, don’t worry that this will happen to you. There are around 2.8 million vapers in the United Kingdom and there are only a handful of examples of battery accidents. It makes a good story for the newspapers but the reality is that it rarely happens. And don’t boil your batteries.