This is a copy of the letter that we send out to newspapers every time they print a story of an exploding e cigarette, we obviously do change the odd detail, but the gist remains the same.
I am writing in response to your recent article, ‘Fire warning issued over electronic cigarettes’. As a campaign that has the interests of e-cigarette users at heart, we would like to point out that this is a battery issue – not an e-cigarette issue.
E-cigarettes like mobile phones, tablets, and many other devices, primarily use lithium batteries. Therefore consumers need to be aware of the potential risks. The incident you refer to in your article relates to the lithium battery and should be reported accordingly. A failure to do so may cause unnecessary concern for the UK’s 1.5 million e-cigarette users and may discourage other adult smokers making the switch from tobacco cigarettes to the safer e-cigarette.
We are so used to seeing and using lithium batteries on a daily basis that we forget the potential risks they pose. Last year a house fire in Peterborough was started when a lithium battery in a mobile phone exploded whilst charging. All lithium batteries can suffer from what is known as ‘thermal runaway’, where the battery becomes very hot and vents off gas. The following stage on from the thermal runaway would be an explosion. If there are insufficient escape routes for the gas and possible flames to escape, i.e. vent holes, then the law of physics states that the tube containing the batteries will explode. Design and engineering are crucial with all things electrical, and e-cigarettes are no different.
As a campaign we encourage all e-cigarette users to follow the advice given by the fire service: do not mix a battery from one supplier with a charger from another, always look for vent holes in your battery casing, always buy from a reputable vendor that are proud of the quality of their goods, check that the product displays the correct CE and WEEE safety markings and can prove their authenticity, do not over tighten the battery to the charger, plug the charger in first, do not leave it unattended, and ensure routine cleaning of the connections at least once a week.
We would like to see all vendors handing out this information with each and every sale of an e-cigarette. These simple, but vital instructions should be on or within the packaging of all new e-cigarettes.
Save E Cigs.