OKLAHOMA CITY — After an e-cigarette explosion in Utah left a child with first and second degree burns, safety educators at e-cigarette shops have a message for consumers.
"There are steps that we definitely take to educate customers about battery safety," said Courtney Smith, owner of E-Vapes in Oklahoma City.
Smith says many e-cigarette shops in the metro give safety briefings to customers before they purchase a personal vaporizer or e-vape device. She says the child's mother, who charged an e-cigarette in her car, did something consumers should never do.
"It is meant for a wall, not your car," said Smith.
Many e-cigarette suppliers provide chargers with a cord that has a USB plug and an AC adapter. Smith says safety educators in the metro always tell new e-cigarette users to never use an adapter that isn't made specifically for an e-vape device.
Smith says the USB plug makes it tempting for many consumers to plug their device into car adapters, laptops, computers, and video game consoles, but this is something consumers should never do.
Neal Heland of OKC Vapes educates e-cigarette users on how to use their devices safely, he says using an adapter that is not designated for e-vape device can cause explosions like the one in Utah.
"Your voltage can go up and go down constantly," he explained, "which can in turn, either overcharges the device, causing a problem, or the bottom cap can actually blow off."
Safety experts advise e-cigarette users to always keep an eye on their charger's light, and unplug the AC adapter once the e-cigarette battery is fully charged.
"Any device that is used on a consistent basis in a plug-in or something like that, a lot of them have time limits that they're actually supposed to be plugged in," said Capt. Ron Berry, of Oklahoma City Fire Department.
Capt. Berry says Oklahoma City Fire Department responded to one e-cigarette explosion at an apartment complex in April, when someone left an e-cigarette battery charging under their desk.
Safety educators say e-cigarette users should not leave their devices unattended. They also recommend using a fire proof safety bag when charging an e-vape battery and storing the battery in plastic boxes to store the battery.
As e-cigarettes gain popularity, safety educators and shop owners emphasize accidents involving e-cigarettes are like accidents involving any electronic device, which is why consumers should only use their device as directed.