Last updated on August 10th, 2022
Worried about Exploding E-Cigs or Vape Pens? Here's the Latest Information
Some people who are considering vaping as an alternative to smoking tobacco have been distracted by sensational news stories involving an e-cigarette that exploded in someone's face or in his pants.
When I heard the very first story several years ago, I couldn't help but chuckle. Okay, I should be ashamed of myself, but being a former Cartoon Network executive I just couldn't get the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd exploding cigar prank out of my head.
Now that I'm a respectable editor for several review sites, as well as a supporter of vape products and Tobacco Harm Reduction, I take these stories seriously and I continue to edit this post as new information becomes available.
Why Are the Details of the Explosion Rarely Explained?
You're probably reading this article because the news story you read was inconclusive. It didn't contain information about the type of e-cigarette used by the vaper or whether the vaper used the device properly. The story most likely focused on horror and misfortune, which is very effective at getting the reader's attention, but not very helpful. It's also not helpful when reports make you think the same thing is going to happen to you if you vape.
Why Do E-Cig Batteries Explode?
Based on the evidence I uncovered, 99% of all electronic cigarettes explode because they are cheaply made, misused or modified. That's the case in the most recent incident which I describe later in this post. The first reported incident of an exploding ecig was actually a cigar; (how ironic); one that the user built himself, or modified, using parts purchased online.
Despite the media frenzy that follows all of these unfortunate incidents, subsequent reports may surface. In all cases they confirm that the exploding devices were either charged incorrectly, left in hot areas, or the ecig was a “home-made mod”; (a term used in vaping circles for an electronic cigarette that has been modified by the user to create greater vapor production) or it was an advanced Mechanical MOD.
Why do vapers modify their e-cigarette? Many try to create a vaporizer that delivers enormous clouds of vapor – even greater amounts than the best vaporizers now available on the legal market.
The fact remains, life is not a cartoon and many would-be inventors and careless users wind up with the lethal personification of Bugs Bunny's exploding cigar.
We do acknowledge that some e-cigarette battery explosions are not the result of user error. Unfortunately, news stories are high on sensational photos and short on details.
Less than 1% of these reports actually mention a brand name or display a photo that distinguishes the brand.
[important]Specific Ecig Brands Mentioned in the News[/important]
In June 2019, it was reported that a young man was injured when a VGOD “vape pen” exploded causing damage to his jaw. There were no details as to whether the device, the coils or the batteries were used according to the manufacturer's directions. The VGOD is an advanced Mechanical Mod that uses Dual High-Amp 18650 Batteries. It can only be used with Ni200, Titanium, SS316/304 Stainless Steel atomizer coils.
In May, 2018 a Florida man perished in a house fire that was caused by an exploding Mod battery pack. This was the first case of anyone dying due to an exploding e-cigarette. It's also one of the first cases where details about the device were reported. The ecig was manufactured by the Philippines-based company Smok-E Mountain. They admitted to using batteries and atomizers that were clones. If you're wondering what a “clone” is, it's a substandard battery that sells for a much lower price than one that has been properly made and tested.
Read More About Clones and Knockoffs
In February of 2017 an ecigarette exploded in a man's pants causing burns to his leg and arm. The report mentioned that the ecig was an iJOY “Looks” (which doesn't exist). iJoy does make a dual-battery regulated mod called the “Limited LUX”.
January of 2016 and November 2015 news reports did mention specific brands; Wotopho's Phantom (an advanced hybrid mechanical mod) and Kangertech (no model mentioned), as products that exploded. According to the reports the products were not used as directed. In the Wotopho incident, the user admitted to tampering with the battery.
That story also reported that fires or explosions caused by e-cigarettes are rare. Want to know how rare?
I also learned from another victim of an exploding e-cigarette that he used an Advken Kennedy “mod”. Kennedy manufactures advanced rebuildable atomizers (RBA's).
Not too long ago, a small contained explosion caused the evacuation of Euston station in London on Aug. 29th, 2017. According to reports, there was a “bang” and a smoking bag was found. The explosion was “believed to have been caused by an e-cigarette”. There were no other details other than the fact that no one was hurt.
While these isolated incidents are tragic, they should not be viewed as a reflection of the safety levels demonstrated within the electronic cigarette industry.
Check out: Where to Buy the Safest E-Cigarettes
VUSE VIBE Recall – 2018
While not an actual battery explosion incident, R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company put out a voluntarily nationwide safety recall of all Vuse Vibe power units (e-cigarettes). 2.6 million have been sold. The company had received 10 consumer complaints about malfunctioning batteries that were overheating. The recall was initiated to prevent the possible fire. No injuries have been reported. VUSE is investigating the cause of the incidents and intends to return the product to the market after the issue has been resolved.
The Statistics – What Are the Chances Your E-Cig Battery Will Explode?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that over 9 million adults vape regularly in the United States. There are over 60 million vapers worldwide. According to a U.S. fire administration report under 200 e-cigarette batteries have exploded between 2009 and 2016 and most of them have been on a charger.
This means that the chance of an e-cigarette exploding while you're using it is roughly 0.0000001%.
Your chance of dying from a smoking-related disease is 50%.
E-Cigarette Common Sense
Commercial e-cigarettes are considered to be safe if used as directed. The same goes for ALL lithium battery products (including laptops, tablets, smartphones, Kindles, etc.) which can, explode if charged incorrectly or placed in areas that may get very hot, such as on or near a cooking surface, iron, radiator or the dashboard of your car in summer.
According to technical expert Josh Kirschner:
Do not let a loose battery come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry. Metal objects can cross the electrical connections and cause an incident if the internal protection circuitry isn't functioning correctly.
Follow the instructions on how to use your e-cigarette and don't substitute the parts that come with your brand's kit! Don't buy “clone” brand e-cigarettes or cheap e-cigarettes from relatively unknown ecig companies! Cheaply made ecig batteries do not come with internal circuitry protection.
High-quality variable power devices (such as the Vaporesso Gen 200, will have built-in safety circuits to shut down the device in the event of issues. The company makes very high quality advanced vaporizers that all have built-in safety features.
Reputable e-cigarette companies self-test or use third party testing to ensure that they are safe to use for their intended purpose.
Electronic cigarettes use a microchip that prevents both over-discharge rates and under-voltage conditions of the battery. Safety chargers prevent overcharging and subsequent thermal runaway. Even the new high-powered, high wattage MODS used for sub-ohm vaping have safety features, although those come with higher risks of overheating if used incorrectly, or if they are damaged.
The greatest danger, according to reputable e-cigarette forums lies with modified ecigarettes, such as putting two lithium ion batteries together in a metal tube. This dangerous device, known as “pipe” or “tube” mod is counterfeit and definitely not available within the legal commercial e-cigarette market.
Equally dangerous is charging an e-cigarette with the wrong charger, (or a cheaply made one). Never use a regular car charger to charge ecig batteries.
Don't Mess With a Good Thing!
It's good to know that the most reputable electronic cigarette companies test their product batteries and ingredients for safety and their instruction manuals include warnings.
If you’re worried about lithium ion battery explosions, don’t use any portable electronic device. There have been loads of cell phone and laptop explosions reported,… even exploding headphones. Just Google it.
In any event, if you are considering e-cigarettes as a smoking alternative, explore our website. You'll find honest reviews, and detailed beginner and advanced comparison charts for the best, safety-assured brands on the market. The only thing to be wary of is politically driven media hype aimed at discrediting a competitive industry.
My Aspire K4 “EXLODED” while on the charger, sending hot charred bits of battery all over the room, melting the cord to another device, melting the packaging for other products, and even melting the plastic cap on an aerosol can. The counter top was covered in fine black soot. The sh*t bags I bought the unit from sold me an extended warranty that is utterly worthless. They do not answer emails or answer the phone.
So sorry to hear about this Seth! I have not heard an “exploding battery” story in a long time. Yes, there are unscrupulous sellers out there that will sell you a knockoff. I also know many vape shops do not honor warranties since it’s a lot of work dealing with their suppliers. I am happy to hear you were unharmed, but the damage you described is horrendous. All I can say that I’ve learned only to trust the largest on-line vape sellers such as Vaporfi or Directvapor. Thanks for sharing your experience here.
Do you have any way to contact Victoria Vapors? I have had several to overheat and burn out! Two years ago one exploded in my hand and I had second-degree burns and when I dropped it, my carpet was burned! I did nothing about it, since I had been using them for years. Recently I had Another one to explode and it shot pieces of the copper wire into my arms and face and damage my right ear!! Who do I contact about this, can you recommend an attorney? Thank you
Sorry for your experience with Victoria Vapors. I have never heard of them, but in checking their website, appears this company is based in Asia and they do not provide customers with a company address, contact numbers or customer support.
We only recommend buying vaping products from U.S based companies that are FDA compliant. We cannot recommend an attorney, but you can report a problem with any tobacco product, including vapes, to the FDA.
Has anyone heard of any problems with the aspire zelos 50watt mod i know it says it has all these safety features but things can still go wrong been using it for 6 months now i love it but i love my face more so just wondering if this one is ok lol
As far as we know, the Zelos mod has never been reported to have exploded. Vapes that have exploded are typically advanced mech mods and/or RDAs or RBAs (vapes that are rebuildable where you “build” your own coil). They also have large external batteries that need to be charged on external chargers.
The Zelos is often marketed as a vaporizer suitable for beginners. It is easy to use and can only get up to 50 watts of power. The device also has a ton of built in safety features, so it can’t overhead without shutting off. You can learn more about the Aspire Zelos 50W mod and read other reviews.
Good article! I used to smoke a couple of different vapes brands. The last one was smok. No complains there but I was forced to stop after hearing and seeing horrible explosion accidents. Last video of someone bleeding all over himself missing half of his face! The video claimed it was from smoking a vape explosion. I was terrified and was forced to stop. But I’ve been missing smoking it so bad. I wish you can recommend a brand that can be 100% safe, please.
Stories of exploding batteries, can cause terrible anxiety to vapers and would be vapers, but almost all cases are caused by users not following directions, they are using cheap imported ecigs, clones, or they are using Mech MODS. These advanced vaporizers lack any internal circuitry, and if not used correctly, they can potentially fail spontaneously.
If I had to recommend a very safe ecig it would be the JUUL. It’s a simple design; the battery is not powerful, yet it’s very satisfying. I use it myself.
In any case, my advice is to stick to the brands that are tested for safety and have had no reports of exploding batteries, like Vaporfi, V2 or Halo. You’ll find reviews on our site.
Thank you so much! 🙂
I just had a Smok 22 vape pen explode while charging on my desk. Shot across my room like a bullet. Woke me up. Lucky not to be hurt.
No modifications, original charger, never wet. It was getting a ittle bit hot yesterday while vaping heavy. But seriously!
Back to cigars. Safer bet.
Thanks for your comment! Your experience can certainly help others.
I’m assuming you had an authentic (not a clone) Smok 22 pen. The pen is usually around $20 and is supposed to built with safety protections including short circuit, low resistance, low voltage protection and over current protection. That said, chain vaping can definitely heat up your battery. The rule is, “If your pen or mod feels hot stop vaping the device”. It can indicate a poor design, a short circuit or a loose battery post. I would definitely contact your vape shop or on-line supplier and let them know what happened.
hi! i wanted to know if e-GO CE5 is safe or not
Just purchased the mistic 2.0 mod. The first pod I used had a tiny bit of leakage. Refilled it with a new pod. This pod also leaked all down my chin and chest and gave me a pretty bad burn!!!!!! I am really pissed!!! I didn’t tamper with anything! U would think they would test these things to make sure they r safe!!! Will be contacting the manufacturer tomorrow as this is painful and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else!!
Not all malfunctions of e-cigs are from user misuse. I purchased a Vuse Vibe and used it for about 3 weeks. I charged it as directed never did it have contact with water nor was it altered. One day I was holding it and noticed it was getting hot to the touch. So hot I couldn’t hold it any longer. I laid it down and it started smoking. At that point I got a towel and removed the vapor screw on head. It then stopped smoking and just flashed red for several hrs until it went dead I guess. I really thought it was going to explode. These e-cigs are not inexpensive and for this to happen is ridiculous. I am contacting the manufacturer. They can be dangerous and not because of misuse by the cunsumer everytime.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree there are ecigarette companies that are not committed to ecig safety. Vuse (owned by big tobacco) is one of them.
Hello i just bough a Eleaf IJUST S , do you know anything about this brand and model? any reports of being unsafe?
Eleaf is a reputable ecig brand, but you need to buy them from a reputable source as they are made in Asia. I think this article about ecig clones will be of interest!
I’ve got a ijustS I got from a Chinese site doesn’t say if it’s a clone it not but been using it heavy for 6 months no problems as fir you saying to turn the mods off you need to take the battery out to and put it up.in a battery case never leave battery in the device your not using it take it out
Can anyone give accurate stats of exploding ecigs that were being properly used and what brand they were?
I’d like to see any stats on that info too, but it doesn’t seem to be out there.
It is disheartening to read of VaporFi Rocket being safe, then noticing the VaporFi logo at the bottom of the page. doh
You have a point. Our reps had the Vaporfi offer removed from this post.
I have been vaping with the Logic Pro Ecigs for two years, I do not miss the smell of cigarettes or the constant coughing. There a selection of liquid refills. I have a minor problem when I come across a refill that does not work and contact the the vendor. THEY DO NOT GIVE A DAM. I enjoy my Logic Pro despite what the makers think.
I myself don’t use any of the fancy capes just a plain ole logic pro series. Keep vapin capers…
I have been using Njoy rechargeable flavor chambers for 3 years now. I am concerned because none of the [news] reports of explosions give the brand of e-cig. I think this is irresponsible reporting and would like to know the risk of my brand.
I have a Vapin e cig that I actually got for $20 at Duane Reade. I use that charger for it. But I had a few incident where water got on the inside while I was cleaning it. It’s dry and seems to be functioning well. Is there any risk of using it knowing it has gotten wet, even if it seems to be working fine? I don’t feel it over heating at all.
I also bought a Miracle Smoke e cig online and use the Vapin charger for it because it’s the same battery. The Miracle Smoke charger that came with it was broken when I received the package. If it has the same battery, is it alright to use the other charger?
If any part of your ecig battery, or if the charger gets wet throw it away! This rule goes for not only ecigs, but all electronic devices. Water can cause things to short circuit. That said, I never recommend buying ecigs at drug stores, gas stations or convenient shops as they sell low quality brands. Always buy directly from the most reputable companies. Yes, you will pay a little more but it’s worth it and it’s really easy to get a replacement or refund. Check out our many reviews here on Cloud Nine. Good luck and thanks for contributing here 🙂
I have a Leo vape new to all this any word on if it’s safe or not?
I barely use it.
Frankly I never heard of a “Leo vape” other than a reference to Leonardo Di Caprio being a vaper 🙂
I have a question. I use an eleaf I stick 30 w mod and itaste I clear 30 tank. Is this a safe combination?
Hi Sweet j.,
You have a 501 threaded battery with a rated output wattage between 5W-30W and a resistance range of 0.4-5 ohms.
Although eleaf Istick recommends a Melo tank that has a working wattage between 20W-30W, a 510 thread type and uses a 0.5ohm resistance it is compatible with your itaste Iclear 30 tank.
I have an Itaste MVP pro 60w and was told from a few friends theres more of a chance of it exploding cause it has 2 batteries in it. Is there any truth to that should i be worried at all?
That’s a great question. According to product specifications the Itaste MVP pro 60w 4500mAh has a single built-in battery. That said, when using any high powered MOD vaporizer you should have a greater understanding of the batteries, chargers and tanks you are using and how to care for them properly.
According to the manufacturer: This tank is a Sub-Ohm resistance atomizer and only work on mechanical mod or devices that can handle Sub-Ohm resistance of 0.5ohm or lower. Please make sure you have a great understanding and technical knowledge on how to use mods and batteries that can handle Sub-Ohm coils. Do not use short or flat 510 connection on any hybrid or hybrid style device.
Safety features on the MVP 3.0 Pro include overcharge/over-discharge protection, low voltage protection, 5 lick lock/unlock and short circuit protection and 15 second cutoff.
She said SGS is internationally known not supported and tested internationally.
I quit smoking almost 3 years ago and I am proud of this accomplishment! The ability to quit this nasty smelling habit that not only affected me but my son as well. Although I didn’t smoke in my home or while he was in the car with me, as well as limiting the areas where smoke would be near him. Well now that I no longer smoke I realize just how potent the smell of smoke travels and lingers on your body clothes and any areas where smoke has been.
Moral of the story I am truly GRATEFUL for e-cigarettes and feel the few incidents of problems that ecigs have occurred is being used as a ploy by politicians are in the pockets of the tobacco companies!
Go VAPING, and yes TOBACCO COMPANIES BEWARE YOUR GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE HIT WITH DECLINING PROFITS!
Nonsmokers will be the voice of the LIFE VAPING HAS GIVEN BACK TO US!!!
Thanks for posting your experience with vaping. I agree as do more and more people who believe ecigs save, (and improve) lives.
I have been vaping for 3 years now and I just had a smoldering imren battery in my Kangaroo Subox Nanos last nite…. Battery is fried and vape won’t work at all…. Vape is only about 3 months old…. I’m not sure why because I do buy from a reputable company and I have a good charger that has the shut off and I never use a battery right off the charger either… I have about 12 batteries and 4 different units….I’m not sure who I call first the battery company or the vape company.
Mindy..I would call both vendors..really doesn’t matter who you call first. Good luck!
Did you check the battery wrap even the smallest nix could have contacted and caused it.
I found an e-cig with a playboy atomizer and an eleaf istick mod is it safe
The atomizer really has nothing to do with battery safety. I have an eleaf iStick and I love it. Make sure you follow the directions, don’t every leave any battery on a car dashboard in summer, and charge your battery with the charger that came with your istick. Happy Vaping
Just a note on USB chargers: the risk is low. Per IEEE standards, all USB charges have to be 5 volts. The DC Inverter that converts electricity between the two forms has no concept of what is “overheated”, as that functionality is left up to the device. The only different in the charging blocks is the amount of amperage they support. An amperage rating less than the one the battery supports just means the battery will charge slower than it could. An amperage rating higher than the battery’s capabilities just means the battery will charge slower than the power block supports. Voltage stays the same.
This is, of course, only regarding USB chargers. Other types of chargers (i.e. your regular cylinder plug chargers) definitely do run the risk of overcharging or damage caused by using the wrong voltages.
Josh, thanks for contributing to the discussion. Well noted.
I almost died tomorrow two news station are coming to interview me. I am lucky i survived. It occurred on 11-27-15 at 10:00 pm i checked into hog hospital. And i am now in recovery.
Your article doesn’t answer the question in the title. The article itself is interesting but the title is, in my opinion, is basically click-bait for concerned vapers. I don’t mean to sound like I’m moaning unnecessarily but I’ve been trolling the internet for a while now and haven’t been able to find an answer.
I get your point about following instructions and not modifying my device, but I’m sure that certain manufacturers take short-cuts to save money. I’d just like to see some stats.
Thanks for participating in the discussion and for helping us make this post more helpful.
So far, all reports of exploding batteries were not caused by an ecig company’s shoddy manufacturing. They were caused by users not following manufacturer directions.
That said, there are now several high powered, variable volt, high wattage mods that have stricter warning labels and clearly say they are for advanced users. That means even if you don’t “modify” the design of your vaporizer, your mod can overheat and burn out – even cause burns if you set the wattage too high for your atomizer and ignore the red warning light. Same goes for some rebuildable advanced mods and rebuildable atomizers. If you are into sub-ohm vaping and high powered advanced mods; if you want to take on rebuilding your atomizer and battery, be prepared to take on added risks.
Have you heard of any rebuildable mods exploding? I use a Russian 91% with a Tesla FirePhoenix II mod. 18650 Sony battery.
sgs is a testing company and they DO NOT test ecigs so any ecig product with SGS markings on it is FAKE. its just been on bbc tv
According to SGS, they do perform SGS tests on lithium batteries – the batteries used in e-cigarettes.
I cannot comment on the BBC report, as I have not seen it, but we have been advised that many reputable e-cigarette companies in the US use SGS testing to test batteries for safety.
This statement was taken from the Green Smoke website.
“Regarding quality control, Green Smoke® e-cigarette uses internationally recognized independent testing laboratories (SGS testing services and Bontek Compliance testing have tested and certified our products as CE- and ROHS-compliant). And it also uses Skyte Testing Services to verify the purity of the e-liquid, ensuring the absence of impurities. This testing is performed on each batch produced.”
Your article is incorrect SGS do not certify any e-cigarettes worldwide
Did you even read anything Hillary said? SGS tests BATTERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT ECIGARETTES. THIS IS IN ALL CAPS JUST IN CASE YOU CANNOT READ ENGLISH!!!!!!