Just before Christmas, New York Senator Chuck Schumer held a press conference expressing concern about the well-publicized incidents of exploding electronic cigarettes. In fact, Senator Schumer went so far as to suggest a possible e-cigarette recall in response to exploding e-cigs incidents. Now the FDA is getting into the act announcing that they will be holding public workshops on the issue of exploding e-cigs and e-cig batteries.
To the Senator’s credit, it was clear that he did not know what kind of e-cigs were exploding and he was curious and called on regulators to investigate “certain brands” that were more likely to cause exploding ecig incidents. But that is not so easy to do.
In fact, most of the incidents are actually battery fires causes by an improper storage of electronic cigarette batteries. The FDA and other regulators often confuse the issue and assume that it is the electronic cigarettes themselves that are catching fire. In reality, vape batteries carried in pockets or purses are usually to blame. Batteries in pockets and purses come in contact with other metals like keys and coins. If both ends of the battery come in contact with metals there is a risk of a thermal runaway, aka a fire or explosion.
Ecig battery fires can be prevented for about $1.50. That’s it. An ecig battery case will ensure that batteries do not come in direct contact with metals.
The FDA says they are “very concerned” about ecig explosions and so are we. Senator Schumer is worried about certain brands and we get that. That said, it is a pretty safe bet the the Senator and the FDA have no idea about the realities of the electronic cigarette market. Just because something happens with a mod with a certain brand name stamped on it does not mean it was actually a device manufactured by that brand. Chances are the faulty device was a knock off, counterfeit cloned piece of junk.
The e-cigarette market has been thoroughly inflitrated by clones. Clones are sold in shops, sold by cut rate websites or on eBay and Amazon. Often when it looks like you are getting a vape deal, you are actually being ripped off by a counterfeit product.
The clones look just like the real thing but internally and in terms of composition, they are not even close. We have to be very careful about accusing certain brands of being faulty because often it will turn out to be the case that a clone is at fault.
Educating Policy Makers Is Key
At ECCR, we will be waiting to hear the official announcement of the date of the FDA workshop on exploding vape devices. It is very important that the vaping community participate and explain to policy makers what is going on. We will post the details of the FDA workshop here as soon as they are released. We will be participating in the workshop and we hope that you will as well. Our community has to come together to overcome the adversarial relationships that we currently have with regulators and work hard to make sure policy makers are better educated on the real issues involving vaping and electronic cigarettes.
Check back with ECCR often for the latest news and events that impact vaping.