Not used properly, e-cig batteries can explode

Posted at 10:58 AM, Nov 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-26 10:58:41-05

CINCINNATI -- E-cigarettes are touted as being less harmful than traditional cigarettes. But if they're not used properly, they can explode.

In Bakersfield, California, three lawsuits have been filed over e-cigarettes causing severe burns.

Jeff Kathman, co-owner of Cincy Vapors, said most of the problems go back to operator error. Too often, he said, e-cigarette users mix and match chargers for their electronic vaping devices.

"People misplace their charger where it plugs into the wall, so they grab one from their cell phone or they grab a new from the laptop and put the cord into it," he said. "And it just generates more heat, and yeah, there are problems that can happen from that."

Litium ion batteries used in e-cigarettes have had similar problems in computers and cell phones; there was some discussion this year of banning them in air shipments.

Chuck White, who uses e-cigarettes, said he takes his battery out and charges it separately in a charger made specifically for the device. E-cigs, he said, require a bit more education than just sparking a lighter.

"I check my ohms -- there's a little ohm meter you can buy," he said. "You screw it down on there, and you have to know Ohm's Law" relating to current and voltage.

Kathman also said users should be sure the wrapping on the batteries stays intact; otherwise, the device can short out.