Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of E-Cig Explosions: What We Know, and How to Stay Safe

Common sense can protect you from potentially poisonous e-cigarette juice…but what about exploding e-cigs? There have been quite a few stories popping up about vape pens shooting fire balls and setting peoples' cars and houses ablaze. A recent video shows an exploding e-cig in action at a London pub. The fireball shot out with no warning and had the bartender not moved so quickly, she could've been hurt. Yet a closer examination should ease your worries: when it comes to exploding e-cigs, common sense goes a long way here, too.


E-cigs have predominantly two different battery setups. The kind that appear as analog cigarettes, (like blu), and skinny vape pens (like Ego) have batteries that are not accessible to consumers and charge via a USB cord. The heavier-duty pens can be modified and use large, rechargeable batteries that can be taken out of the unit. Explosions happen when people overcharge either of these batteries or use chargers that are incompatible with their setup.

For one thing, when we look at all of the skinny vape pen explosions, the vapers had their battery plugged into the computer or car charger (in London, it was an iPad). Just because the pen charges via USB does NOT mean it should go into any USB outlet. The problem is that we have to buy the USB cord and power adapter separately. Even though you can buy a car adapter, charging through the wall is the safest. Car chargers and computers will continue to send a current to devices even after they're fully charged. It can cause as explosion while the pen is plugged in, or shortly after when someone vapes it.

When it comes to the beefier e-cigs, things can get a little more complicated. To be fair, these crazy, moded-out e-cigs should only be used by people who understand how the technology works. Every rechargeable battery has a maximum amount of voltage it can take, but if the battery is unprotected and placed in a dock that charges to a higher voltage, the increased amps can cause it to explode. These batteries should never be charged over their peak voltage and never, ever be doubled up. It's also wise to toss the batteries (in an appropriate e-waste bin!) before their listed expiration date and refrain from charging any battery while you're away or sleeping.

All of these little caveats and pointers are a good reason why people new to e-cigs should only shop in person at respected e-cig stores. If you go to a good shop, the people there will know the correct equipment and show you how to use it. Don't shop online until you know what you're doing and which brands to trust.There's such a huge gap in the consistency of products and warning labels.

Thankfully, compared to the number of vapers, these explosions have only occurred a handful of times.

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