The fear of an explosion with electronic cigarettes is not unfounded, as it has happened before. However, NBC News explains that it is the battery in the e-cig that is the issue and not the contraption itself.
The battery that has a history of issues is a 18650 battery. It is a lithium-ion product covered in stainless steel. This battery is about the size of a AA battery, which many consider harmless.
When the 18650 battery explodes, it does so quickly and with great force. If it happens when someone uses the e-cig, they could die. Even if someone doesn’t, they’re still at risk of severe burns and damage to their face, arms and legs.
Reasons for concerns
Most issues come from devices that use a drop-in battery. Typically, the mechanical mods style of e-cig uses this type of battery. The battery is often found in power tools, electronic vehicles and other devices that have continuous use.
The mechanical mods e-cigs don’t have internal safety devices. Because of this, one must remove the battery to charge it. Every time someone removes the battery or puts it back into the device, they weaken the housing. As the housing reduces, the chances of an explosion increase. Once the housing is weak enough that the metal in the battery touches the metal inside the e-cig, it creates a situation where it could explode.
The biggest issue is many people are unaware their battery is worn until something terrible happens. Professionals recommend that people don’t use e-cigs that operate with this type of battery.