E-cigs are basically designed for the health-conscious smoker, but frequent reports of things like battery explosions and scattered e-liquid poisonings serve as stark reminders that it isn’t all about the relative safety of vaporized e-liquid in comparison to combusted tobacco. In fact, learning about the basic safe use of an electronic cigarette is essential, whether you have a beginner-friendly cig-a-like, an eGo style model, an electronically-regulated APV or (especially) a mechanical mod.
Without intending to be insensitive, it must be said that most of the events that have occurred so far can be put down to people not following reasonable safety precautions. That’s what the “Complete Guide to E-Cig Safety” is for – to provide all the information you need to safely use your e-cig in one place. There will still be accidents (because there always are), but if vapers heed the advice given here, they can be kept to an absolute minimum.
Part One: Beginner E-Cigs Safety
1. Safe Use of Beginner E-Cigs
Beginner-friendly e-cigs are designed with the aim of being exceptionally easy to use, and the safety concerns when it comes to usage really are minimal. However, it’s important to understand that cartomizers do get hot, be able to identify when you’re running out of liquid and learn how to safely store your e-cig.
- An atomizer is effectively an electronic heater, and the area around it may get hot after extended use. If you notice your cartomizer getting warm, put down the e-cig for a little while and come back to it when it’s cooled, or alternatively, switch to a different one and continue vaping.
- An empty cartomizer can be identified by a drop in vapor production and flavor or the characteristic “burnt” taste as the “wicking” material is heated in the absence of e-liquid.
- Batteries should be stored away from either extreme highs or extreme lows of temperature. Lithium-ion batteries are best stored at around 59 °F (15 °C), and if they’ll be in storage for a long time, leave them at around half-charge.
- Covering the mouthpiece with a plastic tip (often included in purchases) helps to minimize e-liquid evaporation.
- If you’re interested in modifying components, you are not advised to do so on a beginner-level e-cig.
2. A Guide to Safe Charging
Many reported e-cig explosions occurred during charging, and in many cases could have been averted or the damage minimized with safe charging practices. They’re almost always printed in the manual, but the best way to minimize the chance of problems during charging is to follow a few simple guidelines.
- Don’t leave your e-cig unattended during charging. It’s unlikely that there will be problems, but if there are it’s important to be able to identify and rectify the situation as quickly as possible.
- Don’t charge overnight. This is partly due to the fact that it’s left unattended, but also because frequent overcharging can be an issue, leading to instability in the battery and potential failure. The power should be removed as soon as possible after it’s fully charged.
- Use the manufacturer’s charger whenever possible. If you must use a third-party charger, it’s essential to research the threading, power rating and the polarity of both the e-cig and charger to ensure they can be safely used together.
- Don’t charge your e-cig in extreme highs or lows of temperature, and keep it out of reach of children and pets during charging.
Standard e-cigarettes are fairly well self contained. When carrying them, just make sure cartridges and things stay free of debris like pocket lint. The bigger concern is with charging safety: Always use the manufacturer's recommended charger and follow instructions, do not charge unattended.
– Steve K. (Steve K’s Vaping World)
I’d also add that batteries should be charged on a flat wooden surface. Batteries can also be placed in fire safe charging bags – we’ve been struggling to find ones which are UK approved, though.
– James Dunworth (E Cigarette Direct)
3. Carrying Your E-Cig Safely
Carrying your e-cig safely is easy, but if you do it wrong and end up with a short circuit you can run into some serious problems. The risks are vastly reduced with beginner level e-cigs, but it’s still important to understand why you shouldn’t carry loose batteries in your pocket with keys, coins or anything else metallic and learn how to guard yourself against potential issues.
- A short circuit is like a shortcut for electricity, giving it a low-resistance path to travel and therefore greatly increasing the current draw on your battery, potentially to the point of failure. This process generates a lot of heat, possibly melting wires destroying components and killing your battery.
- Loose batteries should never be carried in the same pocket as your keys, coins or any other metallic object.
- You can protect yourself against the risk of shorts by using a carry case, turning the e-cig off if possible, keeping the cartomizer or clearomizer attached to the battery (if you don’t have a carry case) and – again – keeping it away from any other metallic objects.
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)
4. Cartomizer Safety
Aside from the fact that they can get pretty hot with extended use, the main risk associated with cartomizers and clearomizers is that they contain e-liquid. Nicotine is highly toxic, and the fact that it’s a component of most e-liquids effectively renders them poisons. Most beginners first come into contact with e-liquid when some leaks from the tip of the e-cig and you accidently get some in your mouth. It’s definitely an unpleasant experience, but is it dangerous? How can you prevent it from happening?
- The quantity of nicotine you’d be exposed to accidently through a mouthpiece is nothing to be concerned about, but it should be avoided non-the-less.
- You don’t need to puff on an e-cigarette as hard as you would a cigarette. Take longer, slower puffs, and for manual batteries, continue inhaling after you release the button to minimize condensation. Additionally, storing your e-cig with the tip upright can help you avoid accidental juice exposure.
- Spit the e-liquid out and rinse your mouth with water if you accidently get some in your mouth. Nicotine absorbs through the skin, so if you spill some on yourself, clean it off and then wash the area with soapy water.
- Use a cloth, mop or paper towel for any spills, and either dispose of or thoroughly clean whatever you’ve used to soak it up before re-using. Ensure kids and pets are kept away from the surface until it’s clean and dry again.
I can remember the first time I got a little e-liquid in my mouth. My post on the ECF was… “Am I going to die?”
Luckily we live in a world where leaking isn't much of a problem anymore. Most of what you get in your mouth at this point is condensation. This can be minimized by continuing your draw AFTER you release the fire button. This will clear out any vapor in your device and minimize condensation as much as possible. As far as “Is it anything to be concerned about”… I'm not a doctor or a chemist so I really can't comment, but I can tell you that it's happened to me, and I'm still here.
– Phil Busardo (TasteYourJuice.com)
5. Vaping and Driving
Vaping while you drive is fine, but – as you should when eating, drinking, changing a radio station, or anything else when you’re driving – it’s important to exercise caution. If your e-cig is charged, loaded with e-liquid and ready to go, it’s safer to vape when driving than smoke. However, if you’re left with any other – more fiddly – tasks to attend to at the wheel, you’re putting yourself, the people in your car and others on the road at undue risk.
- Preparation is essential when you’re vaping and driving. Ensure your battery is charged, everything is connected and you have enough juice in your cartridge or tank to last you throughout your journey. If you do this, you won’t need to do anything dangerous like dripping liquid, changing cartridges or putting batteries on to charge while driving.
- If you need to do something requiring both hands, only do so when you’re pulled over. If you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for lights to change it isn’t advised, because things might start moving again and leave you in a precarious situation.
- Dispose of cartridges safely – don’t just toss them out of the window!
I don't see any real harm in having a vape whilst driving and I will admit to frequently doing that myself. However, if I saw someone trying to refill their tank, rebuild a coil etc whilst driving then I would be inclined to shout some obscenities at them! If you are vaping then at least your eyes are on the road and it’s still possible to have both hands on the steering wheel, but refilling the tank etc would most definitely be a major distraction and should be avoided at all times in my opinion.
Just stay safe and pull over!
– Scott Bonner (E-Cig-Reviews.com)
Part Two: E-Liquid Safety
6. Basic E-Liquid Safety
General e-liquid safety is a unique issue because it’s one of the only areas where a lax attitude could cause harm to someone else, not just you. You wouldn’t drink from a bottle of e-liquid (especially if you’ve ever accidently tasted the stuff), but the same can’t be said for children or pets, who can also be killed by much smaller amounts of liquid than an adult. That’s why e-liquid safety is essential, but the issues are analogous to those with the safe storage of things like medicines, alcohol or cleaning products.
- To both prolong the life of your e-liquid and protect children or pets from exposure, it’s best to keep your e-liquid in a cool, dark location, away from sources of fire or heat and ideally protected by a lock. A wall-mounted cabinet (such as a medicine cabinet) or in a locked box on a high shelf are ideal locations.
- Use child-proof caps as a last line of protection, but don’t rely on them!
- Take care during refilling of cartomizers, tanks and other atomizers: nicotine is a poison. If you spill any on yourself (or a surface) immediately clean the affected area, remove and wash any clothes and ensure cleaning materials are thoroughly rinsed or disposed of safely.
Much like a gun or booze or draino, don't keep your liquid out where kids can get it. I have a 4lb Chihuahua dog that LOVES to chew things. If she got a hold of some juice it would certainly kill her. Just be careful honestly.
– Nick “GrimmGreen” Green (GrimmGreen.com)
Dr Houezec has pointed out that flavour degradation is more of a concern than nicotine degradation. But even so, it should be safe to store for a year, or more than a year if frozen.
– James Dunworth (ECigaretteDirect.co.uk)
7. Allergies, Conditions and E-Liquid
There are many health issues and sensitivities that could impact on your e-cigarette use, so it’s important to learn about things like symptoms of allergic reactions to look out for. The most common issue with e-cigarettes is throat irritation from propylene glycol (PG – the primary component of most e-liquid) or even an allergy to it, but there are also additional concerns for those with some health conditions, who are pregnant or those taking specific medicines.
- PG allergy is the most likely cause for a bad reaction to vaping, so keep an eye out for symptoms of allergies such as sore throat, wheezing, headaches, hives, rashes, swelling, nausea, headaches and itchy eyes. PG-free (100 percent vegetable glycerin, VG) e-liquids are available if you’re allergic.
- Nicotine may interact with conditions such as hyperthyroidism, asthma, some heart problems, insulin-dependent diabetes and skin conditions such as psoriasis, as well as medicines like tricylic anti-depressants. Consult your doctor for advice – you may be safe to vape, but it’s better to receive reliable guidance based on your personal medical history.
- Pregnant women are advised to be abstinent from nicotine if at all possible. Vaping while pregnant is unlikely to be as damaging as smoking, but the key message is to minimize your nicotine consumption as much as possible. Again, it’s best to consult your doctor for personal guidance on this issue.
Humans come in contact with a large variety of substances and irritant or allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions may occur in predisposed individuals. Propylene glycol (PG) and its pyrolysis by-product formaldehyde are no exceptions. The majority of skin reactions to PG are irritant in nature, however, true allergic sensitization does also occur. In vapers who became sensitized, direct contact with PG may cause multiple small (1 – 2 mm) papules, pustules and vesicles around the mouth or in the oral mucosa with associated burning, stinging sensation in the affected areas. However, development of systemic symptoms after oral exposure to PG is rare. Common sense would suggest avoiding the offending agent (i.e.PG) and switching to products containing only vegetable glycerin.
– Professor Riccardo Polosa
8. Safe Nicotine Consumption for Vapers
You’ll hear from many places that the fatal dose of nicotine for an adult is between 30 and 60 mg, but this is estimate is actually based on an extremely questionable piece of science. The figure has been called into question by stories of people consuming over 60 mg and surviving, and from the measured nicotine concentrations in the blood of people who did die from an overdose. In short, it’s extremely unlikely that anyone would be able to consume enough liquid through vaping to overdose, but it’s still important to know the early symptoms of nicotine poisoning.
- Nicotine is assumed to be between 10 and 20 times less toxic to humans than commonly reported, putting the fatal dose for an adult at around 500 mg to 1 g.
- Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pains, rapid heartbeat, excessive salivation and trouble breathing. If you notice any symptoms, take a break from vaping for a while – it’s nothing to worry about, but a sign you’re consuming too much!
- If the situation is severe – for example, you’ve accidently swallowed a large amount of e-liquid or have spilled a strong nicotine base on your skin – seek immediate medical care.
I am not sure how genuine this concern may be for the average vaper. In general, smokers (and by inference, vapers) titrate their nicotine intake based on the feedback they get from their bodies. Feeling dizzy or nauseated is a sign of too much nicotine. Feeling fatigued, dopey, and confused is a sign of not enough nicotine. As a result, nicotine consumers self-regulate nicotine intake to meet their needs. With the exception of those affected by active psychiatric conditions, it is uncommon for the average vaper to experience symptoms of severe overdosing (e.g. progression from agitation, nausea, vomiting, tachypnea, and tremors to loss of consciousness). In order to minimize nicotine overdose in first time vapers, common sense would suggest gradual nicotine up-dosing, starting with a low/medium concentration (depending on the nicotine level in their own brand) in the e-liquid.
– Professor Riccardo Polosa
9. Steeping E-Liquids Safely
Steeping is the process of agitating e-liquids to mix the ingredients and allowing the harsher elements to evaporate away. In many ways, advice for safe steeping is effectively the same as the advice for the safe storage of e-liquids, but there are some unique concerns too.
- Treat steeping like storage: find a wall-mounted (or lockable) cupboard or cabinet to keep steeping liquid out of reach of children and pets, and keep any storage boxes on a high shelf (especially if you steep with the cap off).
- PG has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so although biological contamination is very unlikely, if you’re steeping with the cap off, ensure the storage area is clean and free from obvious sources of contamination.
- Screw the cap on the bottle firmly before shaking e-liquid, and be gentle when squeezing air out of it – you don’t want a nicotine-laced fountain!
[Steeping safety is] essentially the same as storage. If you steep with an open lid, do so only while you can directly watch over the e-liquid.
– Steve K (Steve K’s Vaping World)
10. Do E-Liquids Expire?
You may notice expiry dates listed on some bottles of e-liquid, and – with food expiry dates being often inaccurate – it’s pretty natural to wonder whether expired e-liquid is really anything to worry about. The expiry date for e-liquid isn’t well-established, but following general guidance and trusting your senses helps you determine if a juice is safe to vape.
- There is no consensus on the shelf life of e-liquid, but based on the lifespan of nicotine, PG and VG it’s probably between one and two years. This may differ depending on which flavorings are present, though.
- If you leave e-liquid for a while, sediment may develop as the denser elements sink through the mix. This is normal, but if it doesn’t mix with the juice again when you shake it, this is a sign your juice may have gone bad.
- Otherwise, use the same criteria you would for food: if your juice smells or looks odd and you’ve had it for over a year, it’s probably gone bad.
11. E-Liquid and Tank Safety
The wide variety of flavors in e-liquid is one of the best things about vaping, but it can also cause problems with some cheaper tanks and clearomizers. This is because polycarbonate plastic can’t stand up to strong acids or bases, so it’s worth either investing in a new tank or choosing one made from a different material.
- Getting a glass/Pyrex, PETG plastic or metal tank is the best way to remove the risk of e-liquid melting or cracking your tank.
- Check the master list of affected flavors from the ECF for specifics, but generally speaking, fruity flavors (with high malic or citric acid) and cinnamon-based ones cause problems with polycarbonate tanks.
- Follow the advice from earlier in the series in the event of an e-liquid spill: wash the affected area immediately, removing and washing clothes if appropriate.
It really depends on what you vape. If you vape liquids that are known to break down plastic tanks, then invest in a glass tank. There are many available and they're becoming more and more standard. If you have glass, you don't have to worry about the liquid. Just be careful… it's glass! No matter what the quality, or the amount you paid for it, if you hit it with a hammer, it's gonna break! So when you drop it on your concrete driveway and it breaks (it's happened to me) don't be too surprised.
– Phil Busardo (TasteYourJuice.com)
12. DIY E-Liquid Safety
Mixing your own e-liquid is a great way to save more money while vaping and an appealing hobby in its own right, but if you attempt it without sufficient knowledge of what’s involved it can be very dangerous indeed. Before you attempt DIY mixing, it’s essential you understand the safety concerns brought about by handling high-strength nicotine.
- Never buy pure nicotine. It’s unnecessary, and a small spill could be potentially fatal. Go for concentrations of less than 60 mg/ml if you’re a beginner, and ensure you have isopropyl alcohol (“rubbing” alcohol) in case of any spills.
- Ensure you have all of the materials you need before you start mixing. Among other essentials, you’ll need safety goggles, latex or nitrile gloves and plenty of suitable containers.
- Learn how to calculate nicotine strength. Using an e-liquid strength calculator removes the arithmetic, but understanding the underlying math makes it easier to spot any mistakes. Nicotine strength is given by the total amount of nicotine (in mg) divided by the total volume of liquid (in ml). This means, for example, 10 ml of 12 mg/ml strength liquid has 120 mg of nicotine in total!
Part Three: E-Cig Mod Safety
13. Minimizing the Risk of E-Cig Mod Explosions
Explosions or bottle-rocket like venting with flames events are the scariest things that can happen with your e-cig, and it doesn’t become a serious concern until you step into the world of mods. Mechanical mods are undoubtedly the primary concern, but learning how to minimize the risk of explosions and “thermal runaway” events is essential for mod-loving vapers.
- Thermal runaway is a potential issue for any lithium-based battery, including the ones in laptops and phones. Rising internal heat in the battery causes further heating in a self-perpetuating cycle, leading to venting and – if confined – explosions. However, these events are extremely rare, especially if you spend more for a high-quality battery.
- Stacking batteries is dangerous – most of the explosions so far have involved mechanical tube mods with stacked batteries.
- You can reduce your risk by using “safer chemistry” IMR batteries (lithium manganese), using an “intelligent” charger (and following the charging advice from earlier), ensuring that all mechanical tube mods have electronic and physical safety features such as vent holes and protective circuits (which are built into most VV/VW devices) and following the advice given earlier on protecting against short circuits.
- If your battery gets hot, vents hot, flaming gas or swells up, you should get it away from you as quickly as possible. If it isn’t dangerous, remove the battery from the mod and put it somewhere it can’t do damage to anyone, but if it’s likely to be too hot, just move the entire mod to a suitable location.
From a personal perspective, I will only ever use AW IMR batteries that use the safe chemistry. I have always felt comfortable using them but I'm very mindful that no battery is completely risk free from failure so if I notice anything strange going on that appears out of the ordinary then I will dispose of the battery and purchase a replacement.
In all honesty, I’m not 100% sure what the correct procedure is should you ever notice that a battery is overheating, but on the single rare occasion this has happened to me I immediately removed the battery and placed it outside out of harm’s way. I waited a few hours before returning to it and then disposed of it immediately.
In this rare circumstance it’s vitally important to investigate what caused the issue before trying again with another battery. In my case, the rubber grommet that separates the positive and negative connections of the atomiser had failed which in turn created a short.
– Scott Bonner (E-Cig-Reviews.com)
14. E-Cig Mod Battery Safety and Ohm’s Law
Every battery has a limit on how much current it can provide, and if you go over this limit you’re running the risk of suffering a catastrophic failure. As with most other mod safety topics, this is particularly important for anybody using a mechanical mod. The core principle is that of Ohm’s law, and the maximum amount of amps your battery is capable of putting out, but it also has implications for when you build your own coil.
- Ohm’s law says that current (in amps, A) is equal to voltage (V) divided by resistance (in ohms, Ω), so you draw more current from the battery when you push the voltage or lower the resistance.
- Each battery is rated for maximum continuous discharge current, and this figure tells you how many amps a battery can provide. The Sony US18650VCT4 (or VCT3) offers up to 30 A, making it the best option if you’re likely to draw a high current. For AW IMR batteries, the 18650 (2000 mAh) can go up to 10 A, the 18650 (1600 mAh) can go up to 24 A, the 18490 offers up to 16.5 A and the 18350 can handle a maximum of 6 A. These are likely to be overestimates, so it’s better to assume a lower limit.
- If you don’t have access to the maximum continuous discharge current for your battery, find the C-rating and multiply it by the capacity (given in mAh) to find it, remembering that 1 A = 1000 mA.
- Low resistance atomizers make high current draw more likely, so it’s best to keep your builds over 0.8 Ω and use a large battery where possible.
KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING! KNOW WHAT YOUR BATTERY IS CAPABLE OF!
If you're into sub-ohming or want to get into it, it's important to know about the resistance you're building, that you don't have a short, and the amp draw it will require. This is why I recommend only two batteries at this point, the Sony us18650vct3 1600 mAh and the Sony us18650vtc4 2100 mAh. Are there others you can use? Absolutely! But since these have the highest amp rating of any battery I know, 30A, it's what I like to recommend.
Remember, the only thing that should be getting hot is your coil!
– Phil Busardo (TasteYourJuice.com)
Despite claims, and often paperwork, to the contrary, many overseas suppliers supply batteries without overcharge protection. Good retailers get their own testing done in their own country – so look for evidence that the batteries have been certified in your country as well as at the point of manufacture. We also batch test batteries by overcharging them in an explosion proof container.
– James Dunworth (ECigaretteDirect.co.uk)
15. Rebuildable Atomizer Safety
Rebuildable atomizers are a great way to save money, but they also offer you the freedom to tweak your device to your preferences, improving flavor and vapor production in the process. Much of the safety advice related to them follows directly on from the previous post, but there are some unique concerns too.
- The process of rebuilding may seem safe, but it’s essential to remember that you’re dealing with conductive wire that’s designed to get hot. Never rebuild an atomizer while it’s connected to a mod (at very least, ensure the mod is turned off or locked so the coil doesn’t receive power when you’re fiddling with it), and use common sense when it comes to things like the sharp ends of resistance wire.
- Multimeters are useful for rebuilders, and essential if you’re using a mechanical mod. Test the resistance of your coils regularly, and remember to subtract the “lead resistance” of the multimeter (found by touching the probes together) from the reading, especially if you’re in low-ohm territory.
- If the resistance reading drops, this is a sign of a short circuit, which may lead to battery problems as covered in the previous section.
- VV/VW devices can often be used to check resistance, but it’s important to set the device to the lowest voltage (or power) before testing the atomizer.
- Some wicking materials – such as cotton and silica – can’t be “dry-fired,” so it’s better to test resistance without a wick inserted if you’re using these materials.
OHMS jumping around is the sure sign of a short. Wires should not be touching each other, or the posts, or the deck. Practice practice practice. My first coils vaped and looked awful. After a while you WILL get the hang of it. It just takes practice. If juice is applied to your wick and coils, you should never see anything glowing red.
– Nick “GrimmGreen” Green (GrimmGreen.com)
16. Mechanical Mod Safety
The reason most of the safety advice in this section primarily applies to mechanical mods is that electronically regulated devices like the ProVari and Lavatube have built in protection against things like shorts and monitor your battery level for you. With mechanical mods, the task of staying safe rests on your shoulders, so it’s essential to appreciate the additional risks if you use one.
- Previous advice regarding high-quality batteries and chargers is especially important for mechanical mod users, as is the advice regarding shorts: use the locking mechanism for the fire button whenever you’re carrying your mod.
- Safety fuses offer additional protection against short circuits and are therefore vital for mechanical mod users.
- An inverted battery could create serious problems, so make sure you insert it correctly.
- You need a multimeter to check atomizer resistance regularly if you have a mechanical mod, monitor the battery level (charge when the voltage drops to 3.6 V as a safe guideline) and check for resistance in the unit itself (it should have no resistance aside from the “lead resistance” of the multimeter).
You always want to know what your batteries are capable of, and what you are asking them do to. High quality, high drain batteries WILL cost more. Without an ohm reader, or multi-meter you won't know the “math” of what you are doing. It's crucial to know three things. Your resistance, the AMP limit of the battery and how many amps the coil is asking from the battery.
– Nick “GrimmGreen” Green (GrimmGreen.com)
17. Wick Safety
Aside from your liquid, the wick is the main potential source of contaminants in the vapor you inhale, so almost all wicks need to be prepared in some way before use. The common processes for this preparation may present issues of their own, too, so some precautions are necessary when you’re dealing with wicks.
- It’s prudent to always clean your wicks before use to prevent any contamination from the manufacturing process. Boiling is advised for cotton, stainless steel mesh and silica wicks, and stainless steel and silica can also be torched or dry burned.
- Silica can be dry-burned (or torched) briefly, but doing it extensively will cause it to burn. Never dry-burn or torch cotton.
- Oxidizing wicks (such as stainless steel mesh) helps to prevent shorts, and is accomplished by coating in e-liquid and then burning or by torching (as well as other options like the rolling paper trick), so use common sense regarding fire safety when oxidizing.
- There are many speculations and concerns about the potential risks of different wicking material, and although there is no solid evidence on these issues, it appears to be better to use Ekowool silica (or any other which is stated to be almost all amorphous silica) and not heat SS mesh to the point of glowing red if you’re concerned about things like silicosis and hexavalent chromium formation.
18. Drip Tip Safety
Drip tips are effectively safety devices in their own right, but some vapers have burned their lips from a heat-conductive drip tip. Minimizing the chance of any problems is very easy, though, and there are plenty of options for drip tip material that are resistant to heat. Keeping your drip-tip clean is also advised to present a build-up of gunk.
- Switch to a heat-resistant material such as glass/Pyrex, delrin, acrylic or ceramic to remove the risk of any significant heat from your drip-tip.
- Take a break from vaping when the tip gets warm, use a bottom-mounted coil or find a long drip tip if you want to avoid burnt lips with a metallic tip.
- Clean your drip tips regularly to keep them free of things like saliva and food residue, using hot soapy water or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Acrylic doesn’t stand up well to alcohols though, so if you leave acrylic tips to soak ensure you use hot water!
I don't let anything get hot enough to care I guess. As far as keeping your tips clean, I do a quick boil on mine every now and then or just use some ‘vapor towel.’ ‘Dimitri's Sex Toy Cleaner’ also works just fine.
– Phil Busardo (TasteYourJuice.com)
A small amount of trepidation about the safety issues of vaping is a good thing – if you’re slightly concerned, you’ll double-check things and err on the side of caution – but it’s important not to be afraid of anything. The main safety risks when it comes to using electronic cigarettes are the potential for a thermal runaway event or a battery meltdown and the risk of nicotine poisoning after exposure to large amounts of e-liquid. When it comes to batteries, it can’t be stressed enough that all lithium batteries carry the same risks, and you’re exposed to it every day, vaper or not. It’s a very unlikely event if you don’t abuse your battery. Additionally, with electronically controlled devices and safer chemistry batteries, the chance of a serious event is reduced even further.
For liquid exposure, the revised nicotine toxicity estimates are comforting, but the thing that will allay your fears most is that – even if you’re mixing – there is no need to use seriously dangerous nicotine concentrations. For ordinary vapers, it’s effectively impossible to vape your way to nicotine overdose using any standard-strength liquid.
Why the reiteration? The key point is that you aren’t in danger. Your e-cigarette is not a ticking time bomb, and your e-liquid can’t jump out of the bottle and fly down your throat. E-cigs only become dangerous if you act recklessly and don’t recognize the potential for risk where it exists. In fact, if you’re willing to be a little dorky and over-cautious from time to time, and you know the things covered in this guide, there is no need to be worried at all. Vape safely!