Integrated Fire SystemsFire & Life Safety Updates

What Are The Fire and Life Safety Dangers of Vaping?

Vaping is a popular trend that uses electronic cigarettes (also known as vape pens) to inhale tobacco. When compared to traditional cigarettes, vaping has a much lower risk of fire. Along with chance of fire there is also a chance of setting off the smoke alarms with the vapor.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is the term used when someone smokes using a vape pen. Vaping Daily reports that while vaping dates back to 5th Century Egypt, modern vaping became popular in 2007. There are six essential components that make up a vape pen. According to Vaping Daily these include:

  • Battery – This is what powers the vape pen and makes it electronic.
  • Atomizer – This attaches to the battery and creates heat using a coil and the battery. This heating process turns the liquid into a vapor using a “dripping” process which allows the person vaping to get a pure taste of their vaping liquid.
  • Optional Elements – There can sometimes be one of two different elements in between the atomizer and the tank.
    • Cartomizers – This connects directly to the battery until the perfect temperature has been reached to create vapor. It allows for longer vaping time because there is polyfill around the heating coil.
    • Clearomizers – This allows you to control what you vape. They have a wick structure that does not need a coil or polyfill, this allows for a longer life cycle of the vaping liquid.
  • Cartridges and Tanks – This is the container that holds your vaping liquid.
  • Mouthpiece/Inhaler – This is the simplest component of the entire vape pen. It allows for the person vaping to inhale the vapor.
Fire and Life Safety Dangers of Vaping

Vape pens can lead to fire because of their electrical components. If the pen malfunctions and the heating element does not click off, then the pen will heat to dangerous temperatures and could ignite and/or combust. NFPA reports that “the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found an estimated 2,035 emergency department visits from e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries from 2015 to 2017”.

Charging vape pens can also lead to fire. When a vape pen is charged using an incorrect charger, this could over charge the pen which could lead to the pen heating up. This problem often occurs when computers are used to charge vape pens.

Policy Expert recommends the following safety tips for people who vape:

  • Only use the charger supplied with your e-cigarette kit. Other chargers may cause problems with incompatible battery types.
  • Do not “mix and match” components between kits.
  • Do not over tighten the battery onto the charger. Screw the battery in gently after plugging in the charger first.
  • Do not leave the kit unattended while charging.
  • Clean the battery’s ‘center pin’ and charger contact at least once a week.
  • Once fully charged, remove the battery from the charger.
Vaping and Smoke Alarms

While it is rare for vaping to set off smoke alarms, it is still possible. There are reports of vaping setting off smoke alarms on airplanes and in buildings where there are a lot of people vaping at one time.

Some fire alarms are more sensitive than others. E Cigarette Direct reports that the two most common types of smoke alarms to be triggered by vaping are:

  • Isolation – These are sensitive to small particles of smoke. When smoke particles enter the fire alarm they change the electricity between the radioactive plates, which sets off the alarm.
  • Optical alarms – These alarms shine infrared light and when the vapor or smoke particles disrupt the beam of light, the alarm goes off.

Even though it is rare for vaping to set off smoke alarms, it is still important to obey all smoking rules. Do not vape where you are not allowed to smoke. This includes; hotel rooms, public buildings, and airplanes.

-The IFS Team