Carrying your new e-cig might not seem like much of a concern; but like many things, it only becomes an obvious concern when something goes wrong. Short circuits are possible, and the resulting heat can have pretty disastrous consequences. Needless to say, you don’t want that to go off in your pocket, but it’s very easy to protect yourself against the possibility.
Short circuits have a much lower resistance than the intended circuit, and the resulting increased current can ruin batteries, melt wires and fry components – as well as burning you from inside your pocket!
Never carry loose batteries (especially with the battery connection exposed) in your pocket with keys, coins or other metallic objects.
Use a carry case to minimize the risk, and if you don’t have one, keep your cartomizer or tank attached, turn your e-cig off where possible and keep that pocket free of metal!
It's fine to carry your e-cig how you would like, but you must always use common sense. It's easy to become relaxed with your e-cig and treat it just as you would any other electronic device, but unfortunately that isn't acceptable. It's okay to be comfortable with your e-cig, but never let your guard down, as e-cigs have the ability to be quite dangerous if you don't handle them with care. Here's a quick tip to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you when carrying your e-cig. It's vital to always make sure you turn your device off before carrying your e-cig in your pocket, purse, or the like. Anything can easily hit and activate your device and cause you danger. If your device doesn't have a shutoff switch, I don't recommend carrying it along with you without keeping a constant check on it. What I like to do is check to make sure my device is turned off just in case, even if I know I turned it off. Not to sound too corny, but when it comes to e-cigs, safety should always come first. – Blake Brown (GuidetoVaping.com)
If it has a lock switch? Use it. If it turns off? Turn it off. I use the same leather pouch to carry all my mods. They are either in my back pocket, or in my backpack. – Nick “GrimmGreen” Green (GrimmGreen.com)
With an eGo type battery you have far less chance of anything “going bad.” If you're putting your e-cig in your pocket or purse, do so with the topper attached and with the unit turned off. Most have this feature at this point. If you're using a device that has a removable battery, NEVER carry loose batteries around unprotected, especially in a purse. That battery WILL find some keys, coins, or anything metal it can to short itself out with! Then you'll be bitching that there's a big hole in the bottom of your favorite Coach purse! Many vendors sell little plastic boxes designed to hold batteries. They are your friend. – Phil Busardo (TasteYourJuice.com)
About Short Circuits
A short circuit is quite literally what it sounds like; a “shortcut” for the electricity that reduces the distance it has to travel. This wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t for Ohm’s law and the property of resistance. Ohm’s law describes the relationship between the voltage, current and resistance of any electrical circuit, and effectively says that if you have a set voltage and decrease the resistance, the current (the flow of electricity) will increase. Resistance can be thought of as like electrical friction, slowing down the amount of current flowing through and converting some of the energy to heat.
So, who cares? Well, the problem is that batteries can only deliver so much current, and the “longer” a circuit (with more wire and/or more components), the more resistance there will be (given the same materials, at least). If a “short circuit” occurs, where the electricity skips a large part of the circuit because there’s a quicker path, then there is considerably less resistance and therefore considerably more current, potentially more than the battery has the ability to provide. This could result in a serious battery failure, but if the battery holds, the large amount of current will flow and produce a lot of heat (even with the much lower resistance), which could melt wires and damage components.
Minimizing the Risk of Short Circuits with E-Cigs
Turning our attention to e-cigs, it’s clear that exposed battery contacts present a risk of short circuits if they come into contact with metal. Carrying a loose e-cig battery in the same pocket as coins or keys is asking for trouble, so don’t do it! If you have a cartridge or tank system attached, the risk is greatly reduced, but if the option is available, it’s worth turning your unit off too.
If you’re using an eGo, you can pretty much always turn it off by pressing the button several times rapidly (usually five), which is advised whenever you’re carrying it around.
The best advice is to use carrying cases. You may have cynically discounted them as a money-making scheme (and obviously, they are that too), but it’s the best advice when it comes to avoiding shorts when you’re carrying your components around. They’re widely available, and they mean you can keep any type of e-cig battery with you safely.
Additionally, for manual batteries, battery cases protect you against accidental activation. If something presses the little button down while it’s in your pocket, you’re causing that little coil to heat up and working your battery unnecessarily. Accidental activation is less likely to be totally catastrophic than a short circuit, but you still don’t want to burn up your juice, dry-burn wicking material or have an increasingly-hot coil sitting in your pocket! Spend the money and rest assured you’re protected.
Protecting against short circuits is easy, but the knowledge you’ve gained paves the way for what’s to come if you go on to start rebuilding atomizers or using e-cig mods and APVs.