Can E-Cigarettes Explode?

Since the introduction of e cigarettes into the market in 2007, a lot has been said about the alternative smoke. From facts to speculations, critics to promotion, e cigs are some of the commonly discussed products. Some even thought it would be illegal by now although that is yet to happen. E cigs are designed to be a safer alternative to traditional tobacco smoking as it contains much less nicotine and has fewer negative characteristics that tobacco has. However, recent reports of e cig explosions have yet again brought it to the spotlight. What many people are asking is how likely are e cigarettes going to explode? Well, the first question should be can e cigarettes really explode? Based by the reports, the answer to that is already obvious. Yes, e cigs can really explode.

What causes the explosion?

ecigarette explodedE cigarette explosions have brought up much discussion from different groups that usually have conflicting interests. However, it is always important to keenly discern the truth and determine causes. In order to know how likely e cigarettes are going to explode, you must know what causes the explosion in the first place. According to the reports made by FEMA, about 80% of the e cig explosions happen when the device is charging. E cigarettes are designed with a battery that is often recharged to continue using just as the e liquid is also replenished. The other 20% of the times occurs randomly inside the user’s pocket, possession or hand.

After careful study into the explosions that happen during charging, it was determined that this is a direct result of using wrong chargers; those that were not offered with the e cigarette on purchase. Each e cig battery is offered with its unique charger that delivers the right amount of power for a given time for full charge. When users use other chargers that were not recommended, it interferes with the cells and chemical composition in the battery. This is also evident even with cell phone batteries which often grow big over time when the wrong charger is used. In the same way, e cigs will not explode the first time you use the wrong charger and this usually lets you think it can perfectly be charged with any other compatible charger. In a study made on 30 different explosion cases, it was found that 22 fires started while the device was charging.

faulty charger

Other causes of explosion

Obviously, charging is not the only cause of e cigarette explosions. The other 20% cases are caused by other factors that range from tinkering with the e liquid to blatant dismissal of user instructions. FEMA reports indicated that 12% of the explosions happen when the device is in storage or use. This has been attributed to the risks of using lithium batteries which have the potential to pack high amounts of power in just a small compacted space. The internal temperature can increase to a point of explosion or fire in what is called thermal runaway. This can be a result of various factors that include manufacturing defects, poor design and handling, and low quality materials among others. However, lithium batteries have become part of the daily norm as they are found in cameras, phones, laptops and various kinds of rechargeable devices. Nonetheless, only very few people know of this potential risk. Arguably, the risk of explosion is expected to increase when the batteries are used with devices that include heating elements like the case of e cigarettes.

Are some brands and makes riskier?

There is no clarity at best whether some brands of e cigarettes are more likely to explode than others. However, the study revealed a few commonalities which can be explained. According to the research, personal vaporizers (MOD) had a low risk of explosion than rechargeable vape pens. Personal vaporizer or MODs as they are commonly known are designed in such a way that you can detach the battery from the device and charge it separately. This is so for several other rechargeable kits. However, vape pens have a sleek compact design with an inbuilt USB slot which means you charge the battery with the heating element right next to it. Even FEMA acknowledged that such designs increased the risk of explosion.


E cigarettes are rarely so dangerous considering they replace the officially most dangerous product in the market. The studies have shown that explosions result in significant damages in places where the device was at the time of explosion and may cause fire which is more dangerous. It is therefore important to strictly follow the user instructions provided to avoid cases of explosions.

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