Exploding e-cigarette raises safety concerns

E-cig explosion raises concerns

"Oh wow."

"I think about people flying."

"Did it explode?"

"Smoking is hazardous to your health either way you look at it."

It's supposed to be safer than smoking, but a video of a man's e-cigarette exploding in his pocket at a store inside Grand Central station in New York City has Brian Almerico questioning his own vaporizer.

RELATED STORY: New questions about safety of e-cigarettes after man badly burned

"The piece I use is pretty good it just hasn't blown up on me like that," said Almerico.

The employees are just shooting the breeze when all of a sudden flames start shooting from the guy's pocket sending the men in all directions.

"Then we realized it was an e-vapor cigarette high voltage battery."

Vapor dealers say often times the users are modifying the units to get more bang for their vape.

"What they're doing is they're going inside of it, opening up the circuit boards, they're putting new circuit boards in there and they're using the wrong type of wiring and they're using 18650 batteries that don't vent, they explode," said Trevor Campbell, who owns three Vapor Unlimited stores in Pasco County. He says when used properly he's never heard of a problem with e-cigarettes.

"Our industry and people that use it know that when you modify something you don't do that, you don't go to your car battery and try to modify your car battery. It's probably not recommended in our industry as well," said Campbell.

The man in New York city was rushed to the hospital. This photo shows what was left of the device after it went up in flames.

His attorney says the video shows even more disturbing details.

"This e-cigarette didn't just explode once, it exploded a number of times," said Sanford Rubenstein, the man's Attorney.

The U.S. Fire Administration says many of the e-cigarette fires are linked to overcharging the lithium ion battery, manufacture defects and punctures.

Almerico said, "That's not safe."

Almerico says he's rethinking how he uses his device.

"It just didn't look safe at all. It makes me want to change my ways of smoking I guess or vaping," said Almerico.

Or at least follow the manufacture's directions.

New regulations were put in place this year when it comes to e-cigs on planes. Due to the fire risk, vaping devices and batteries are allowed in carry-on luggage only; not in checked bags.

Now there are also some things experts say you can look out for when buying an e-cigarette:

  • Make sure it's made in America. The devices and e-liquids made in the U.S. have to meet certain production standards to ensure their safety.
  • Don't let it overheat. If you're new to e-cigarettes you could end up holding the button down too long.
  • Use the correct charger. The wrong voltage could be dangerous.
  • Also, don't leave it charging for an extended period of time

(© 2016 WTSP)


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