Most of us have seen media stories about battery-related accidents involving vape device. Fears over battery safety should not discourage adult smokers from trying vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes. The lithium ion battery in a vape device is the same technology as used in other commonly used personal electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops. So as long as you treat the device with a little respect there won’t be any problems.
Lithium ion Battery Safety
Closed pod-based vape systems like blu use standard lithium-ion batteries similar to a smartphone and are fundamentally safe if users follow these simple rules:
- Charge with the cable that comes with the device
- Don’t tamper with or modify the device
- Avoid exposure to heat sources or direct sunlight
This is the same advice you would receive for using any personal technology product containing a lithium-ion battery (e.g. a mobile phone or laptop), as all such devices are liable to malfunction if mistreated. We also recommend that consumers follow this advice when buying or using e-cigarettes:
- Only buy from reputable dealers
- Never leave a vaping device unattended when charging (e.g. overnight)
- Do not purchase counterfeit goods
- Never use a vaping device near to medical oxygen, flammable emollient creams or airflow mattresses
Fontem Ventures Lithium-Ion Battery Study
Fontem Ventures commissioned a study of lithium-ion battery-related incidents involving personal technology devices that occurred globally and were reported in the media between 2011 to mid-2018, including overheating, fires and explosions, in order to identify the most common causes behind such incidents. None of the recorded events involved blu e-vapour products.
In the study, there were 301 incidents relating to batteries. 67% stemmed from e-cigarettes, 15% from smartphones and 6% from laptops. Lithium-ion batteries – the type used in most personal electronics including smartphones, laptops and e-cigarettes can fail through a process known as “thermal runaway”.
What Is A Thermal Runaway?
In a thermal runaway situation, internal defects cause short circuits, which raises the temperature of the battery enough to cause further reactions that release more heat and it is this feedback loop that leads to sparking and self-destruction. A battery overheating incident is considered more likely to occur in an e-vapour product than in a smartphone. This is because the combination of lithium-ion batteries with a heating element of a vape device increases the risk of such a reaction.
In almost all cases these thermal runaway incidents involved at least one of two contributing factors:
- Devices with changeable batteries (i.e. open vape systems)
- Devices without built-in battery safety features
The importance of battery quality
There have been no reported incidents of fires or explosions in blu pod-based devices since Imperial Brands started selling the product in February 2018 – primarily because the battery cannot be changed or accessed without damaging the device. Consumers should be educated about the risks of using inferior quality vape products, and chose products where the manufacturer has committed to high standards of product quality and safety.
All blu vape products meet relevant electrical safety standards. For example, in the EU, devices are CE certified and assessed by an independent third party in order to comply with:
- The General Product Safety Directive
- The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive
- The Low Voltage Directive
- The Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive
- The Battery Safety Standard
Blu devices also contain safety features to protect against overvoltage and overheating.
Improving vape device safety
The recurrence of vape device battery incidents has begun to fall year-on-year . Commenting on this decrease, a senior executive from the Independent British Vape Trade Association said: “Generally, the decrease in incidents is because consumers are more aware of the incidents and how important battery safety is in ensuring this.”