E-cigarette Drop-in 18650 Battery Explodes Tragically Killing a Man
UNITED STATES – According to an online news report from nbcnews.com, a man was at home using an e-cigarette when the battery malfunctioned and exploded, causing him to sustain fatal injuries. He was 38-years-old.*
Upon investigation, it showed that the battery was called an 18650. The explosion caused the vape pen to shoot “like a rocket into the cranial cavity and then [fall] to the ground, igniting a fire at the same time,” per a lieutenant with the St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. It appears that the battery failed and when it did, the results were catastrophic.
There are no further details on the accident at this time.
This is not the first time that an 18650 battery has been determined the cause of an electronic cigarette explosion. These incidents have prompted the United States Food and Drug Administration to start monitoring these devices. "The incidents that we've seen generally involve ... vaping devices that use the drop-in 18650s," said the executive director of The Rechargeable Battery Association. "That’s where we have our biggest concern."
An 18650 is a battery that is slightly larger than an AA battery. They are lithium-ion based and are “"robust cells that have a stainless steel can so they can withstand the rigors of outdoor power equipment." It is intended that this type of battery be used in electric vehicles and power tools, not in vape pens where people put them in their mouths.
The 18650 battery is often used in various types of e-cigarettes known as mechanical mods, which are vaping products that lack an internal safety circuitry.
These batteries need to be removed from the vape pen and charged, per the president of the American Vaping Association. The problem with removing the battery from the vape pen is that it can cause damage to a cell’s insulating wrapper, which compromises the safety of the battery.
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