While electronic cigarettes have many advantages, the devices can have inherent dangers. The reduced impact on health compared to traditional cigarettes is indeed a proven fact. Still, electronic cigarettes do present a very real risk of burn injuries due to battery explosions. There have already been a number of these explosions reported in the media.
While cases of burns caused by e-cig battery explosions are quire rare, a recent study chose to focus on this potential danger in more detail. Organised by the FDA’s CTP (the Center for Tobacco Products), this study aimed to survey burn cases via the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) in the USA.
The goal of the study was not merely to count the number of cases of injury, but to define the main cause. Anti-vaping activists were quick to point the finger at the material that could have caused these injuries. However, according to the CTP study, it seems that it was users themselves who caused the majority of e-cig battery explosions.
A report to determine the cause of burn injuries
While predominantly causing minor burns, explosions linked to e-cigarettes can cause serious second and third-degree burn injuries. Based on survey data, the main cause of these accidents was the presence of a battery in a user’s pocket.
It is important to know that a loose, unprotected battery can short-circuit if both terminals come into contact with a conductive material such as metal. This is the main cause of e-cig battery explosions. In other words, human error.
The majority of these injuries affect the thigh and inner thighs of users, easily linked to cases of improper usage. Other burn cases, a minority, concern forearms and the face.
The FDA has therefore issued warnings on the importance of education concerning electronic cigarettes. While some injuries can be linked to a defective battery, this remains exceptional. Only raising awareness regarding e-cigarette safety (battery not screwed properly, using the wrong charger, etc.) can effectively help prevent improper usage. This is all the more important given the fact that it is mostly users under 18 who are victims.