With an estimated 2.1 million adults in the UK now using e-cigarettes, it’s quite disturbing to know that instances of these catching fire or even exploding are on the rise. There are even reports of them exploding whilst in use causing substantial injuries. So just how safe are they and what can we do to minimise the dangers?
Electrical Dangers of E-Cigarettes
Emergency Services have reported a steep rise in the number of call outs they are receiving to e-cigarette related incidents. In 2012, there were only 8 recorded fires reported, rising to over 60 in 2014, according to the Daily Mail. One such incident as reported in the Independent, was that of David Thomson, 62 from Merseyside who was found dead in his home after an e-cigarette had been left charging and subsequently caught fire, also igniting a nearby oxygen equipment.
“The recent spate of fires connected with e-cigarettes is highly disturbing and we are issuing a nationwide alert to users to be vigilant at all times.” Councillor Jeremy Hilton, chairman of the LGA’s fire services.
Many of these fires are due to people using the incorrect chargers for their e-cigarette and also leaving them charging for too long. With so many different e-cigarettes available, people mistakenly assume one charger fits all. This is not the case as both battery capacity and charging voltages will vary greatly from one manufacturer to another. It is also advised that they not be plugged into laptops or DVD player as this has been a common cause if incidents.
“People buy cheap or incompatible chargers for many reasons – often to save a few pounds – but you have to ask whether this is worth risking lives for.” Martyn Allen, of charity Electrical Safety First
There are however, a few simple steps you can take to avoid the dangers;
- Always follow the manufacturers instructions, paying particular attention to battery capacities and charging voltages.
- Do not leave e-cigarette batteries charging for long periods of time, and never unattended or overnight.
- Look out for the CE mark that means the charger complies with European Safety Standards.
Until next time, please stay safe!