Common Mech Mod Batteries

Vaping Safety and Common Sense Revisited

Introduction

Vaping Safety and Common Sense Revisited
Vaping Safety and Common Sense Revisited

The past couple of weeks have brought some interesting feed back regarding the articles that I have written.  So, it’s time to take a few minutes to explore some different perspectives on the subjects I’ve written about.  When it comes to taking vaping safety and common sense seriously, there is never too much that can be written about it.

Vaping Equipment Safety

When talking about batteries and chargers there were a few things that people mentioned to take into account.

The first comment was regarding the batteries we using in vaping devices.  The person indicated that they thought the batteries we use are the same as the ones that are found in laptops or cell phones.  That is actually an incorrect statement, and is proof of why I’ve written about battery safety before.

The batteries found in cell phones and laptops are typically Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries, while the cells we use in vaping are Lithium Manganese (Li-Mn).  The big thing to understand about the differences between these batteries is that most Li-Ion batteries do not have a high C value rating.  The C value indicates how high of a continuous power draw is acceptable on the battery.  The standard Li-Ion batteries used in laptops and cell phones have a low C value, while the batteries we use for vaping have a higher C value in order to allow for low resistance (sub-ohm) vaping.

The other distinguishing feature is that Li-Mn batteries typically feature a harder case surrounding the chemical compound in the battery, which makes them less resistant to puncturing.

Now, in my Rant About Common Sense Vaping last week, I went off on the person that left a battery connected to a charger for nine hours.  That is still a ridiculous thing to do, in my opinion.

However, as someone pointed out, if the person had a relatively high quality charger, it would have overcharging protection.  (One of the more common examples are the Nitecore Chargers.)  So, the thing that I failed to mention (it slipped my mind, really) is that there was the possibility that the people who had fires as the results of batteries not charging properly might have been sold inferior equipment that lacks the appropriate safety features, such as automatic shutoff to avoid overcharging.

The average cig-a-like and eGo style systems are fairly close in their use of battery technologies to laptops and cell phones.  However, once you have moved up to devices that use 18350, 18500 and 18650 Li-Mn batteries, you are dealing with different technology. Asking questions, and building knowledge is absolutely required.

The point to all of this is that: A. the owners of this equipment need to make certain that they are using appropriate batteries (with appropriate C ratings) for the desired use, and they want to make certain that the chargers they are using have the correct safety features. B. If there are vendors that are selling devices and equipment to consumers without making it abundantly clear what safe usage entails, and how to appropriately use these things, then they are (at least) partly responsible for these accidents.

Nicotine Poisoning

The portion of my Rant article (cited above) that dealt with nicotine poisoning of children brought an interesting comment that the quantity of cases of Nicotine poisoning are fifteen times less than the number of fluoride poisonings in this country every year.

Now, no one is saying that just because there are fewer cases of nicotine poisoning that it is acceptable.  And, honestly, I still will say that this is the responsibility of the parents to handle the bottles of e-Juice properly.  However, how common is fluoride?  It is in many of our water supplies since they are treated before being pumped to our houses.  It is in the toothpaste and mouthwash we use all the time, and so do kids.

But, even more interesting is to consider some of the items on the list of things that are the most common poisons.  The National Capital Poison Center has a good list.  Look at some of these:

  • cosmetics and personal care products
  • cleaning substances
  • coins, thermometers
  • plants
  • pesticides
  • arts, crafts and office supplies

Now, how many parents would think of the dangers of leaving cosmetics out where children could get to them?  How about plants?  Or Arts and crafts supplies?  The fact is, parents are told all the time that there are dangerous chemicals in things like cleaning solutions and thermometers, but when it comes to other normal, common place items there is typically a lot less concern about them, even with much higher reports of child poisonings.

On e-Cigarette and Vaping Regulation

Possibly the longest debate I got into on a social network was about the potential for government regulation of e-Cigarettes.  It appears that my Word For Regulators About eCigarettes / Vaping article was cause for one person to state that he believed there should be strong regulation, and it should in fact be used to clear some of the e-Juice producers out of the market.

And, in some cases, I don’t disagree.  As I have pointed out in the past, there are cases like that of  Green Leaf Tobacco eJuice, where I feel there is an inherent danger in using the product.  And, if regulation clears out potentially harmful products, then it will be for the better.

However, the person stated that the overall industry that surrounds the production of e-Liquids is potentially quite dangerous given that we don’t know the full compounds that are used in the liquids.  Fair point, but with most reputable suppliers of e-Liquids using components that are FDA approved as a starting point, I believe there is a lower risk — even if there is still a risk because these components are being used in a manner that is different from the FDA approvals.

He also stated that he know of unsafe conditions in manufacturing, and a host of other reasons why there should be strong legislation.

And, I guess this is where the point of the article was somewhat lost.  It’s not that I am against regulating e-Cigarettes and / or vaping.  But, I am against these knee-jerk reactionary calls to ban them outright without their being adequate factual information put into the process of deciding how to regulate them.

the long and short is, I want to see responsible regulation.  Regulation that will allow there to be a wide open and level playing field for anyone that wants to start a company, and is able to do so in such a way as to meet safe production standards.

Vaping Safety and Common Sense Revisited

So, hopefully this discussion clears up a few details that I either mistakenly omitted (like having appropriate and safe equipment, along with the knowledge of how to use it), clarifies some thoughts about things like children being poisoned by e-Liquids, and puts a little perspective around the subject of regulation.

3 thoughts on “Vaping Safety and Common Sense Revisited

  1. Hi George,

    I agree with your point about advanced users vs. users of cigalikes and eGo type devices. Folks who use larger/more complex batteries and mods are probably going to be better informed about battery safety, having graduated up from beginner models.

    The ongoing media scare-mongering against e-cigarettes has at least had the one positive outcome of raising greater awareness of best practices for safely charging batteries. I know a couple of vapers who said they wouldn’t have known charging batteries could be a safety issue if not for media reports on the subject.

  2. Thanks for the article George, and its prequel – both very good value. I agree with you on points 2 and 3. For point 1 though I believe the responsibility for educating consumers about the dangers of battery charging should be the vendor’s. Big warning signs on the website, verbal advice given at the store, safety instructions in the user manual, etc.

    E-cigarettes are still too new a technology for us to expect everyone, especially newcomers, to know about charging safety best practices. Many of us don’t think twice about leaving our cell phones charging for 9 or more hours, or leaving our laptops plugged in for days at a time, because we have no reason to expect that doing so could be dangerous.

    So why would it occur to vaping newbies to even consider that they shouldn’t leave their hardware charging for long periods, the same way they do their other consumer electronics? Vendors should let them know about the dangers of incorrect charging. I’d guess that with most of the e-cigarette fires and explosions we hear about, the consumers weren’t given this important piece of safety advice at the time of sale.

    1. Hi Alisha,

      I do not disagree that manufacturers and vendors should be supplying safety information, especially when it comes to cig-a-like and eGo style devices. My vendor here talked with me about devices, the chargers, etc. We even had a situation with a couple of chargers that would overheat, and he immediately swapped them out.

      However, when it comes to handling 18350, 18500, 18650, and 26650 type batteries I would have to say the responsibility is shared. Most battery suppliers assume that you have devices (flashlights, or whatever) that have safety instructions with them. The manufacturers of mods aren’t supplying the batteries or chargers, so they cover safe device usage. This brings it down to the charger manufacturer and/or the supplier/vendor of the charger.

      At this point, I believe that the person(s) using these devices know that they are into the advanced devices. At this point they need to have the knowledge of what these batteries are capable of, and how to handle them safely and properly.

      I’ll give another example: this has weekend I got my first 26650 batteries. When I went to charge them I kept checking my charger ever 30 minutes or so, just to make certain it didn’t overheat (it was getting hot), and that the overcharge protection worked properly. It all worked as desired / expected. But, still exercising that caution was my responsibility. Not that of any vendor or manufacturer.

      That’s the point I’ve been trying to make. It’s common sense to just make sure things are working correctly, keep an eye on them, and check them. So, I don’t disagree on where the information or warnings should come from, but I do believe the user bears part of the responsibility.

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