Mech mods exploding: history repeating, with no end in sight

Oliver Kershaw Comment 74 Comments

In February 2012 a Florida man, Tom Holloway, suffered extensive injuries after his vape device exploded, gaining the unfortunate distinction of being the first person to be injured by vape mod. By today’s standards, this device was primitive: it was a closed tube with a button on the side and a screw thread on the top to connect the atomizing unit. Variations on this same technology still in wide use, known as “mech mods” because they close the electrical circuit in a purely mechanical fashion.

This injury didn’t come as a surprise to many in the then small but fast-growing vape community. Indeed, E-Cigarette-Forum had tried to create a standard which would mitigate the fallout of so-called “thermal failures”; simple things like ensuring vents could allow explosive gasses to escape and be directed away from the user. It didn’t take off, with only one or two manufacturers managed to build to the spec. 2012 saw the introduction of advanced microelectronics and a big change in battery chemistry, reducing the impetus for making mech mods safer.

The reason for the existence of mechs at all was simple: vapers had discovered that by reducing the resistance of the heating coil, a higher power vape could be created. These devices required larger batteries than were standard in the mass-manufactured e-cigs of the era, and so enthusiast-entrepreneurs in the US and across Europe started going to machine shops and having their own designs made up.

The majority of people purchasing these early devices were strongly attached to one or other of the vaping user-communities around the world. To these users, the risks involved were clear and present. To anyone outside of this community, the safe usage of mechs depended entirely on whether or not they conducted their own research, or whether they were directly educated on safe usage by the retailer.

In 2012, Evolv released the “Kick”. For those with less appetite for risk, the Kick a was a small microelectronic unit which sat in-line with the battery and the device, and which could shut a mech down if it detected dangerous events. It’s not clear how many users actually used a Kick, but Evolv went on to become pioneers of much of the technology used in today’s products. Today’s regulated devices (sometimes referred to as Advanced Personal Vaporizers, or APVs) ensure that the batteries are not overstressed, will not continue to operate if there’s a short-fuse event, and are in the main affordable and widely available. Some of these devices have eye-watering performance characteristics, far exceeding what can be safely achieved with mechanical devices.

Why are mechs being used today?

Many product categories have a hobbyist/purist consumer base. Think automatic watches: the technology is pure artful engineering with no microelectronics. They’re purchased less for the accurate telling of time than to own something made in a time-honoured fashion, allowing the wearer to participate in the centuries-old and ever-developing world of horology. In a similar way, mech’s are superseded technology; you don’t need to buy a mech mod to experience the performance that was only available through mechs if you were vaping five year’s ago. But you might choose to buy a mech for a number of reasons.

The fashion for mech devices is typically generated by the community of small manufacturers in the US or Europe who gain loyal followings from their users. Mechs are the vanguard of the vaping subculture: the image of a twenty-something vaper clutching his mod having become totemic during the rise of vaping.

In terms of declared motivations for using a mech, many do so because they enjoy the hobby side of vaping, because they want precise control over their experience, or maybe just because that’s what they were recommended by their retailer. Given that most regulated mods are made in China today, there’s also a “buy-domestic” motivation. That said, many the mechs in circulation are cloned versions of the originals, also made in China.

Is the issue overblown?

All said, the average mech user today is much safer than one five year’s ago. The chemistry of batteries is totally different, with many handling an output that would have sent the original batteries into instant thermal meltdown.  If this battery technology were not available it’s likely mechs would have been banned some time ago.

So, what’s to be said about the explosions we’re seeing currently? The first thing to note is that they are not exclusively occurring amongst mech users. The data is thin, but it appears that the majority of events are related to the inappropriate storage of batteries. It doesn’t matter if the device you’re using is a mech or a regulated device, carrying these batteries loose in pockets or bags runs the risk of short-circuiting them on coins, keys or other metal objects.

Of course, there’s a dramatic difference in outcomes between having a battery going thermal in your pocket and a device explode an inch or two from your face.

Do consumers understand the risks?

The batteries themselves contain a massive amount of energy. Consumers really haven’t had wide experience of batteries like these up to now: they are not AAAs! I calculated that a typical 18650 contains around as much energy as two 50 cal rounds. These batteries are inherently dangerous products and consumers need to understand what they’re dealing with.

This has to be a piece the industry addresses. Consumers must be made aware of the risks and taught to use them safely. The information is out there and available to consumers, but they have to educated that they need to understand the products before using them.

Murphy’s law dictates: “if it can go wrong, it will go wrong”. Accordingly, mechs will always cause injury no matter how much education there is. I personally can’t see regulators tolerating this, given the existence of technology which is cheap and safe, but prediction’s a mug’s game so I won’t try to say what I think’s going to happen.

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  • Adarious Mistdancer

    You forgot a pretty obvious motive for getting a mech mod, especially in the wake of the FDA’s actions. That is …regulated mods contain electronics..those eventually wear out. Mech mods don’t have these and as such will survive substantially longer. It’s the same argument with RBA/RTA vs tanks using pre-built heads. If availability of supply is cut or reduced, it’s more about what’s going to last the longest without being able to replace it.

    • Yup, it’s a good point – thanks for adding it 🙂

    • Leo Nicholson

      I’ve used a 69 clone w/kick for the past years without a single incident.

      • STDog

        Until that kick dies and you can’t replace it since it’s not approved.

  • Adrian Fetterley

    As you said, regulators are more likely to favor regulated devices because there is less inherent danger. But it is more likely that you will be injured by a car accident than by a battery meltdown incident. One of the reasons for the age restrictions on both activities is to make sure the users are able to assume the risk. Regulators should look at driving in conjunction with Murphy’s Law as well. Things are always going to go wrong and people are always going to get injured, but that doesn’t mean we should ban the activity. The users should be made to understand the risks of misusing a mechanical device, even if they won’t educate themselves about battery safety. There is much more risk in driving but no one wants more restriction on their car or on the road, so they ignore the problem for the sake of convenience.
    Sorry just thought that needed to be added.

    • Thanks Adrian.

      I agree users need to be educated on the risks.

      The car example is an interesting one, but I don’t quite see the analogy. There’s a huge amount of automobile regulation that has caused deaths by driving to plummet over the last 50 years. Regulations such as seat-belt laws, standardisation of tyres, bumpers and so forth are all attempts to deal with Murphy’s Law, no?

      At some point we decided to build our society around the automobile, and with that we decided to accept the risks of driving – but we’ve tried to mitigate those risks over the years. I’m certain there are regulations here which make no sense, and regulations which make a lot of sense, and that the whole process has been messy, full of conflicts of interest and is ongoing….

      In the next decade, we will have available to us technology that will supersede the ability of humans to detect dangerous conditions and intervene. And, like all technology, this will become affordable very quickly. I can foresee regulators insisting that it’s built into all new automobiles – I don’t think fully driverless cars will be mandated (imagine the politics!), but the tech which intervenes in accident situations will, at the point at which it’s thoroughly demonstrated, be adopted.

      And, personally, I think this is a good thing. I’ve had two friends die from car crashes, neither their own fault but the fault of others, and my brother was one car in front of a car in which all the occupants died, killed by a driver taking his eye off the road for a second round a corner. There will be technology available at some point in the (possibly very near) future that prevents the types of scenarios that killed all these people.

      In the case of vaping products, there’s technology which prevents dangerous battery conditions and it’s already very inexpensive. Now, I’m not advocating for a ban on mechs, but I will say that I am advocating a ban on people not being made aware of the risks of using mechs. I, personally, will never use one.

      • Edward Newman

        I didn’t read all this crap. The products need to re-engineered to prevent explosion. The exact moment the vape community sold itself education of a volatile product is more important than simply making it safer, you become as delusional as the anti-vapers.

    • Kevin B.

      The problem with the car analogy is that automobiles are utterly essential to modern life and economies. The risk of driving also does not come purely from the vehicle or its use, but rather we do it so much that the risk rises in conjunction. Which is to say Cars don’t have a higher percentage chance of failing and thus killing their user but the many, many variables at play everytime you drive, which is often and ubiquitous, makes it dangerous. The amount of technology required by regulation now also more points to banning mechs.

      I think the analogy misunderstands the way regulators approach a problem. The question is whether the inherent design poses enough risk that it is likely and foreseeable to cause injuries. The biggest problem is trade offs. What risk to mechs pose to the average person getting into vaping verse the burden of regulation requiring safety features. And it does not come out favorably to fans of mechs.

      Perhaps a better analogy is motorcycles. But even that requires a special course making you aware of the dangers. No one riding a motorcycle can claim they didn’t know the extra risk involved. Mech mods are fine for people knowingly taking the risk but it’s not possible to force buyers to get educated. And vapers need to understand the battery technology more than anything.

      • “The problem with the car analogy is that automobiles are utterly essential to modern life and economies.”

        So, don’t ban them. Just set a reasonable and fully enforced off-highway speed limit of ten miles per hour. What’s the big deal?

        – MJM, “Just slow down a bit…”

        • Kevin B.

          Also missing the point. 10mph is arbitrary. Safety regulations have to be, in general, non-arbitrary. The speed limit is, in theory, set to a speed which is not inherently dangerous. In practice there is a lot of political calculations involved as well of course. A modern car can handle 45mph suburban streets without a problem and there isn’t much pedestrian traffic. There’s no reason to slow a car to the speed of a runner. As it stands at regulated speeds, accidents are usually an individuals fault and a mistake that is not made inevitable by the intrinsic design of our cars. They don’t want to significantly burden everyone for bad decisions by a few. So activities that make driving dangerous are banned instead. It’s not just simply driving at 35-65mph that’s dangerous.

          I vape, i don’t really want to see a ban at all but it’ll come down to how inherently dangerous they believe mechs to be in design, how widely used (if its just a very niche base of enthusiasts it’s unlikely) and whether there’s an easy substitute (regulated mods) that isn’t significantly burdensome.

          The car analogy just really makes no sense in relation to vaping. There’s no objective way to equate the cost-benefit of automobiles and the extent of regulation after a century of case law and precedent to the luxury and hobby of one particular kind of vaping device.

          Again, I want to see as little regulation as possible for vaping. But a false analogy is still a false analogy.

  • Cheryl Detar

    So, ignore all the deaths that smoking cigarettes cause? Ban cell phones because a few caught fire?

    • No, that’s not what I’m saying at all.

      Cell phones, though: If Samsung had continued to put its Nexus exploding phone on the market, you don’t think it would have been banned?

      • Banning one model of cell-phone is not the same as banning an entire range.

        • Tom Blackwell

          The problem is that it’s not up to any of us it’s up to bureaucrats who either do not understand or do not care to understand the technology.
          If they wanted to add a bittering agent to eliquids to make them less “child friendly” they could.
          So we have to be a little proactive here or risk losing it all.

      • CASPER

        Do not pollute with bad information, Nexus phones were not exploding even though a few of the Nexus devices were made by Samsung.
        Also, don’t use subject matter that you are clearly not familiar with, there are many different 50 cal rounds with a wide range of power from the 50 AE to 50 BMG.

      • Bill Godshall

        Seems like this comment is blaming vapor product manufacturers for the many different ignorant, negligent and/or reckless actions taken by vapers.

        In the US, vapor manufacturers and vape shops have done virtually all of the consumer education about battery and recharger safety.

        No federal, state or local government has done ANYTHING to educate consumers about vapor battery safety. Instead, they (and the Big Pharma funded vaping prohibitionists) have blamed the vaping industry for all of the battery problems caused by consumers, FDA banned companies from selling new safer vapor products, and they’re lobbying for even more unwarranted regs (er bans) on vapor products.

        • Hang on a sec, Bill, I’m not sure if I’m reading you right.. This is not a piece about how malfeasant the federal/state/local government has been on this and all issues relating to vaping. You’ll get no disagreement from me here, but it is irrelevant.

          What’s relevant is that there are scores (134 published, probably many of others) of incidents and injuries – some very serious – that go back 5 years. Not a single one of these injuries had to happen. I’m also not saying that some injuries have been caused by idiots who knew the risks and ignored them. Of course they have

          I agree with you too that vape stores are the front line in eduction and that many, if not most, have done a great job. But there’s plenty of evidence of shops that are NOT educating their consumers as to safe battery handling.

          If you spend a bit of time reading the reports you’ll find injured vapers saying they had no idea that their product could explode. It’s your choice to disbelieve them – I take them at their word. And why should they have known, absent of being informed? Have consumers been routinely exposed to batteries that explode? Of course not. I find your lack of empathy on this point a bit odd, to say the least.

          • Bill Godshall

            Nobody has more empathy for vapers (and smokers) than me.

            But its now legally impossible for manufacturers to improve vapor battery safety in the US (because FDA banned the sale of all new and improved vapor products in August).

            Meanwhile, many vape shops in America have already closed down due to outrageous taxation and unjustified vaping bans, and all of them will shut down in less than 18 months unless Congress, the Courts or the Trump administration repeal FDA’s Deeming Ban.

            Hundreds of vaping opponents have been paid lots of money to criticize vapor manufacturers and vape shops for not ensuring that vapor products are 100% safe. You appear to share some of those views.

            Just as everyone who buys a car knows that car crashes can occur
            (especially if/when the driver is reckless), every vaper has read and/or seen at least several news stories about exploding vapor batteries (which the news media and government officials insist upon inaccurately calling “exploding e-cigarettes” to further demonize them).

            And just as claiming “car crashes continue with no end in sight” does nothing to reduce car crashes (even as cars have become much safer) and scares people, I don’t think the gloom and doom in this headline and article are helpful.

          • Bill, you wrote, “Hundreds of vaping opponents have been paid lots of money to criticize vapor manufacturers and vape shops for not ensuring that vapor products are 100% safe.”

            Thousands of smoking opponents were paid likely on the order of a thousand times as much money over the past 20 to 30 years to criticize smoking with the premise of secondary smoke exposure justifying government-mandated bans. Hundreds of those opponents are now using the same tricks and techniques and distortions to attack vapers.

            If you want to see how to fight them, try attacking their fake science and statistics, as per: https://web.archive.org/web/20150412051216/http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/PASAN/StilettoGenv5h.pdf The battery explosion problem, while it can’t be ignored, is not the real thrust behind the attack on vaping: it’s simply being pushed for the “shock and awe” value it has with the consumers the same way the supposed “threat to children” was pushed by smoke-banners even when their target was bars and strip clubs.

            If you spoke up when they came knocking on the smokers’ doors you should certainly speak up now when they come knocking on the vapers’ doors…

            … but it may be too late: the principle’s already been set and accepted. “There’s no safe level…”

            – MJM

          • Again, you seem to be arguing with me on things I haven’t said. What view do I share with anti-vapers? That there are injuries associated with vaping products? Well that’s just true, isn’t it?

            “Every vaper has read/or seen” — this simply isn’t correct. It’s a hyperbolic statement with no grounding in fact, Bill, and you know it.

            Look, I’m in no doubt that vaping opponents use this issue to for cynical political ends. But that does NOT preclude any pro-vaper (as I emphatically am) from thinking exploding devices to be a massive own-goal. What did I actually advocate for in my piece?

            I’ll tell you what – exactly the scenario in your hyperbole – that anyone who uses a vape product knows…

            1. Some products are less likely than others to cause problems (i.e. if you happen to be a careless person, you might choose to use these)

            2. That some products have more risk than others and need to be treated with respect.

            Here’s the thing – when a vape next explodes and blows someone’s teeth out, it WILL be reported, and it will be used as ammunition against the whole of vaping.

          • Bill Godshall

            Minor correction “Virtually every vaper in the US has seen/read about exploding e-cigs.”

            Regardless, the reality in the US is that it is now a federal felony to
            introduce a safer vapor product (including safer batteries or other components) into the US market.

            Empathy will do nothing to improve product safety in the US as long as FDA’s deeming rule is the law of the land.

            Don’t understand why you are criticizing me, as nobody has fought harder than me to prevent the deeming regulation from being imposed.

  • Adam Friedman

    Wait a minute. Apples Phone’s are blowing up all over night stands right now especially their newer units. So maybe the world should ban Apple phones, right? Sounds like apple might be in bed with big tobacco now or something. Google Vape lovely….

    • teryn0069

      interesting

    • jonsieling

      Samsung too!

  • Edward Newman

    The moment the vape industry sold itself the obvious BS justification that education of a volatile product is more important than re-engineering it to simply make it safer. You become as delusional as the anti-vapers.

    • Watch Vapor

      They HAVE been re-engineered to be safer. This is where regulated mods come from. The likelihood of batteries going into thermal runaway are hugely reduced (if not eliminated, assuming there is no failure in the regulatory device) in today’s regulated mods. Unfortunately, this does not address the companies/people still producing and using mechanical mods. This also doesn’t address the safe usage, storage, and handling of the batteries used in today’s mods, both mechanical and regulated. Many people go about their days carrying around their extra battery in their pocket, just asking something to short it out. Yes, education of a volatile product is incredibly important when considering the fact some manufacturers still produce mech mods and further considering how many people tend to jump into something without doing any kind of research beforehand. Saying the batteries should be re-engineered is the equivalent of saying gasoline should be re-engineered……they both are used as the fuel for something, and they both carry roughly the same dangers when mishandled. Today, only the people who misuse gasoline tend to get hurt by it (barring freak accidents) and those who do get hurt are greeted with the attitude of, “well, it’s frickin GASOLINE!!!! You should know better!”. I tend to feel the same about people who’s batteries explode in their pockets due to carrying them loose where they can be shorted. Especially when a battery case is available for about a buck!

      At the current state of our industry, education IS more important than re-engineering because they already HAVE been re-engineered to be as safe as possible with today’s technology. Unfortunately, because so few people who aren’t vapers understand there is a difference between mech mods and regulated mods and/or there is a proper, and adversely an improper, method of storing batteries in one’s pockets, industry regulation will come down much harder on the industry as a whole instead of specifically restricting the devices and methodologies of the less safe devices and products.

      • Edward Newman

        The proof is in the pudding. But the vape industry is an echo chamber of telling each other what they want to hear. Consumers cannot be trusted with 18650 batteries. Simple.

        The only thing keeping a coin from shorting out a positive terminal from a negative terminal on an 18650 battery is a piece of .3mm PVC wrapping. Are you kidding me? The only company who had any wisdom was Innokin when they encased their cells inside a battery pack but because the vape community was too busy telling each other they are right, it never caught on.

        I own a shop and can tell you first hand, all the education on the planet will not stop people from taking unnecessary risks and pushing the limit a bit further. The fact is either you can create a battery pack or sell internal cell devices but any product that forces a consumer to also use raw unprotected 18650s is poorly engineered by default and I hope the designers/wholesalers carry product liability insurance and are shielded behind a corporation or an LLC.

        And to add to that I been doing this for a long time. Batteries did not get safer they become more dangerous. When I started the game IMR was the dominate chemistry and you rarely if ever heard of a battery issue.

        Battery explosions are a self regulation fail and we are all going to suffer for it.

        • Leo Nicholson

          My sister and my niece both vape, but I only get them MVP’s with built in batteries. My wife uses a kbox mini, but I make sure the batteries are maintained and properly handled. We’ve found lower powered batteries at 7-8w perfectly adequate for tobacco avoidance.

        • STDog

          We might well have gotten a better battery design if the battery makers had been willing. Instead the vape crowd piggybacked off the flashlight crowd reusing industrial cells form grey market sources or scavenged from other battery packs (laptops, power tools).

          This was really only possible because of the internet. It allowed a few suppliers to reach large audiences.

    • Asylumsix

      The problem is… Convincing manufacturers to all use a standard casing for the batteries and even then charger manufacturers to create a charger that will work with the modified batteries..

      It would be dead simple to make the casing as well… as simple as a battery wrap with one end that is extended by 5mm and instead of the entire positive being showed at the center is a 5mm hole…

      Actually just made one out of a retired battery to show the concept… Obviously the washer is the wrong size but look how it protects the positive pin from accidental short due to it being recessed instead of protruding..

      http://i.imgur.com/Az0aSY2.jpg

      • Edward Newman

        Believe it or not I convinced Kanger to make the first Pyrex tank doing exactly what you did, if you are willing to put in the effort you can also. But I have to say, your battery looks alot like a AW button top which used to be the preferred batteries about 3-4 years ago.

        When you really drill down to it would have been so easy to improve these devices and cells, but instead of fixing the obvious issues. We got in the habit of defending poorly engineered devices and at some point believing there was not an issue until it become too big to ignore.

        • Asylumsix

          “But I have to say, your battery looks alot like a AW button top which used to be the preferred batteries about 3-4 years ago.”

          It’s an LG HE4 flat top that I’ve retired, I don’t use batteries past 200 cycles for vaping, after 200 cycles I re-wrap them green and only use for flashlights/powerbanks, as a consumer I took the time to look at data sheets and calculated how many top notch cycles I can get out of my batteries without having to worry about it but how many people are really like me and monitor cycles? How many vapers really have battery wraps sitting around?

          It’s a two way street.. Yep manufacturers could be doing more, but if every vaper out there was like me there wouldn’t have been a venting to date.. What’s worse is all the major battery manufacturers don’t even want us using their batteries, 18650’s when bought in bulk directly from manufacturers come with papers stating they are only to be used in battery packs and consumers shouldn’t have access to the actual cells and the few manufacturers that are targeting vapers like AOSO are blatantly exaggerating their cells CDR…

          It’s a big clusterfack… Currently the only technical way to solve all the problems would be to make all batteries internal but that isn’t even realistic… Proper education I think is the best solution, forcing vendors to include pamphlets and battery cases free with every battery purchase could help…

          • STDog

            Bingo. It’s the battery makers. They don’t make 18650 or similar cylindrical cells for sale to the general public. Doesn’t matter if they are for a mod, a flashlight, or a car, they don’t sell them that way. They only sell to companies making battery packs, like for cordless power tools or portable computers.That’s why all the cells we buy are grey market and we have such a problem with fake/remarked cells.

            And the problems in the original article are why they don’t sell to the general public. The public at large thinks they are like alkaline or NiMH batteries when they aren’t.

            And polymer cells (like used in phones and tables) are even worse. Again, the OEMs don’t make them for the general public. Even the RC guys using them get packs made by reputable companies instead of building their own form raw cells.

      • Edward Newman

        Thanks for the pictures BTW, its just proof to me that fixing this issue is really so easy that even consumers are doing it. It should really drive home just how bad self regulation has failed.

  • Niel Jo Evony

    I was lucky enough to have a learning moment without injury. I vape, but i also fly small radio control airplanes. I had a small lithium polymer battery, wired 3 in series, where one of the batteries was beginning to go bad. I know how powerful these batteries are, but complacency set in as I was disassembling it. While cutting off the connector, my metal snips went through both the positive and negative lead at the same moment. It was a very short duration “closed circuit,” but the flash was something I won’t soon forget. Luckily the snips had plastic ends, and I didn’t get the shock from my idiocy. A lesson I’ll never forget however.

  • Paul Muad’Dib

    I thought IMR chemistry batteries were safer than Lithium-ion batteries because they don’t explode. Do IMR chemistry batteries explode?

    • STDog

      IMR is still Lithium ion.

      There are several chemistries for rechargeable lithium batteries, particularly the positive/cathode electrode. Maine ones for cylindrical cells are

      ICR = LiCoO2

      IMR = LiMn2O4

      IFR = LiFePO4

      While IMR is generally safer, the safety is more overcharge protection.

      High energy storage is simply dangerous and one can’t treat them like lower capacity items.

      • Paul Muad’Dib

        I just read something about INR batteries that are supposed to be safer then IMR, have you guys heard anything about INR batteries?

    • Asylumsix

      IMR are safer than ICR, ICR batteries are more likely to explode when a dead short happens and IMR batteries are more likely to go into thermal runaway in which the power is released in the form of extreme heat.. If you notice the heat you have the chance to toss your mod whereas the icr, no warning just boom.

      Both situation are very dangerous just one is less dangerous than the other.

  • Asylumsix

    For me and why I still keep a few mech’s around is more than for show or nostalgia, the vape I get from a mech despite having tried many mods with bypass is much more organic, you can feel the voltage drop in the temperature and flavor of the vape something I’ve never been able to get from a chipped mod…

    Not saying I use them all the time but I do use them from time to time if that’s the vape I feel like… 95% of the time you’ll find me vaping 50-60 watts with the 75 watt 1/2 second preheat…

    Why are mech’s still so mainstream? The price! Why are faux hybrid mech’s becoming popular? Again the price but even lower… you can get a decent mech for 7$ on sites like FT… With the right coils/battery’s it can hit as good as a 200$ setup for 20$…

    A big part of the problem is not just with mech’s but more so “faux” hybrid mech’s (a true hybrid mech is where the atty is permanently attached to the battery tube), with a faux mech you can use any atomizer on it, ones with short positive pins can dead short your battery, ones with the correct pin can be over tightened and damage the battery leading to a venting…

    Faux Hybrid’s honestly I don’t see the need for them other than for advanced cloud competitions, in the hands of not only experienced but very advanced vapers, the performance difference is so small compared to a normal mech that it’s not even noticeable from a quality mech it’s more science than anything at that point…

    I have no problem whatsoever with Hybrid Mech’s being removed from the market, but normal mech’s with standard 510’s still have a place in the hands of advanced vapers…

    • sbut01

      There was NOTHING like the taste of dripping on a 510 atomizer at 4.2 volts. I have switched to tanks and chipped mods but it’s nothing like the early days firing up a box mod or a Big chuck. That’s what got me off cigarettes and into vaping.

  • boxer30

    I, myself, have been vaping for 5 years and have tried both. I think the key ticket to all of these incidents are simply educating people on battery safety. I’ve seen people change their batteries in my local vape shop that are completely unsafe. The wraps are dented, nicked and one persons wrap was almost completely off. This is so incredibly dangerous. Most vape shops I used to frequent don’t want to sell battery wraps because of the obvious. They want to make more money by selling new batteries. I feel, consecutively, as a group, we need to unite and possibly have posters created educating people on battery safety and make it MANDATORY to be posted in all vape shops. I’m not quite sure who to contact or how to go about this, but maybe CASSA can get involoved. I can’t tell you the amount of times I educated a Vaporer on the facts of battery safety and the simplicity of changing a battery wrap.

  • teryn0069

    Um, ONE injury?? There are other things that are not bitched about that can injure. I do not believe this story much. They cannot find anything wrong with e cigs so they are making things up now.

  • I’m primarily a smoker, but have experimented with vaping over the past year or two to varying degrees. Don’t really know much about the tech details so that’s the basis of my double question here:

    1) Are all the units with a battery with a button you press (Like EGO, Revolver etc) considered “mech mods”?

    2) Do the problems ever occur during what most vapers might consider “normal” button presses of a second or two for a mouthful as opposed to five to fifteen+ second draws for people taking lungfuls? Or are they triggered only during such long presses?

    • Asylumsix

      1, Ego’s are not considered Mechanical mods, a mechanical mod is basically a tube with a mechanical switch, there are no electronics in it at all.. Even a simple ego has protections built in…

      2. Generally puffs length has nothing to do with batteries exploding, it usually has to do with the ohm’s of the build (lower the ohm’s = Higher the amp draw and batteries have limits to how much amps can be drawn from them) or dead shorts (touching the positive and negative side of the battery together)..

      So. 0.1ohm build with a fully charged battery at 4.2 volts will draw 42amps, generally most batteries used in vaping only have around 20A max draw, the battery gets too much energy drawn from it at once it can go into thermal runaway.. It may not right away but it will get severely damaged with use and lead up to it..

      And with a 1ohm build, 4.2 volts, will only draw 4.2 amps and is well within the safety limits of the battery…

      • Thank you Asylum. It’s unfortunate we can’t trust the government to study and develop reasonable safety standards etc but the Antivapers are simply Antismokers in new clothes: anything at all that they do will be designed to be destructive.

  • Tim Hadfield

    Knives are sharp – should we ban knives too?
    Stupid or careless people are always hurting themselves (and others).
    Ban stupid people … Ban everything, just to be safe. Stay in bed, do not get up, you’ll be safe there.

    • I may be wrong, but I believe I’ve seen CDC figures on multiple deaths from falling out of bed and/or entanglements/suffocation from bedding.

  • Mandy

    What’s a mech, mod and kick? This is a great article but not everyone knows what those things are. This article is a great way to start the education but if people don’t know what these things are then they may think, “ohh don’t even know what that is so it doesn’t effect me”

    • Kel Wehlage

      Mech is a mechanical mod…no circuitry of any kind. The kick was a small device you could install inside the mechanical mod to make it hit harder…plus it offered a little bit of security against battery failure.

      • Tom Blackwell

        You have had to have been vaping for at least 4 years to remember the kick 🙂

        • Kel Wehlage

          I’ve been vaping over 6 years so yes, I had several of them.

        • deb22

          7 yrs here and I have /had 2 kicks…lol

  • Vested interests will be jumping on this story in the hopes of banning vaping or regulating it to the point where it dies as a free market. How many stories have we heard of cell phones exploding and catching fire, burning houses down and severely injuring people? Were any companies or governments pushing to ban cell phones? No.
    The giant tobacco corporations want to either destroy or control vaping and as I’m concerned, they can go to hell because I’m never going back to cigarettes.

  • Stosh

    So we’re banning all the mobile phones, tablets, laptops, flashlights, electric toothbrushes, electric cars, solar energy backup battery packs, etc that use the same style batteries and have the same danger of explosion and fires?!?

    Pardon me while I get my flint and striker to light a fire to cook dinner…don’t need any of the dangerous modern stuff….lol

    • Mārtiņš Daugins

      Exactly. Thanks to idiots, whos unable to use proper tools, get jobe done. How many idiots charge/use mobile phone while in bath tub…. how many idiots use mech mods with extreme coils and cheap batteries….most of these explosions are just thanks to idiots who doesnt research even first bit about resistance and cells proper for that resistance. I used mech mod at very beginning and didnt like it alot – as you have to monitor your battery all the time to not overdrain it. Box mods are more safer that way as you have all temp control/short and so on monitors in it. But reading another post about exploding mech mod and blaming it for the explosion kinda makes me wanna go to that injured dude and tell him, that hes a pure idiot. None of these posts doesnt write what mech used/what coil build/what resistance and most of all what cells used. So ill make 0.05ohm dual coil build and use cheapest cells avalable in mech mod(prefferably 26650s) and chain vape….how long untill i can blame mech mod for the explosion?

      • Mārtiņš Daugins

        We had a story just now(very sad one) where 2year old got killed my Piano, that fell on him. So we ban pianos as they are deadly.

      • Stosh

        They’re just candidates for the Darwin Awards…

  • Kugel Bauer

    Not everyone wants to vape 20ml/day of 3mg at 50w. Some of us are cavemen who like their 18mg juices at 5w and mechs are perfect for us.

    • deb22

      nothing wrong with that…I still chill out with a Naut mini and MVP 20w …M2L, every now and then….Old school is comforting sometimes, 🙂

  • This is just ridiculous! Vaping gear has come such a long way since mechanical mods. By the way, isn’t Apple having problems with the iPhone 7 exploding and catching on fire nowadays? Do they hire cigarette smokers knowing that cigarette smoking causes cancer? Maybe the world should boycott Apple!

  • ZenZephyr

    This article right here is part of the problem. “I myself will never use one” in reference to mechanical mods. First I would ask how long have you been vaping? And why are you just spreading more fear? It’s one of the same issues that has plagued this industry from as long as I’ve been part of it. The sub ohm craziness “Oh my god what are they doing going below 1.5 ohms!!?”, The diacetyl scares with popcorn lung “That stuff is chemicals and will kill you!”, Mechanical mods “People will hurt themselves! We’re all gonna die!”. It’s the same affliction I see in all media, TV, magazines, social media. Everyone is pushing an agenda of fear because fear makes great eye catching headlines and sells more clicks more comments more arguments etc. This article is completely irresponsible for continuing to push that fear based agenda instead of looking at the facts and data as well as taking this opportunity to actually educate. In every instance where a mod has blown up the biggest issue has been user error, not the mod’s fault it’s the user’s fault for doing something completely wrong because they didn’t learn what they were doing. You as a writer have a platform which you chose to use to sell more fear and further divide the community and give the FDA and all those against us more ammo. In every one of the above mentioned controversial topics that I mentioned we have been our own worst enemies. Each problem resulted in months of heated arguments and division within the community that took our attention off of the real issues like taxes being passed that were designed to crush and wipe out this industry or backdoor deals to create unfair hurdles for small business. All because people don’t bother to do any of their own genuine research to find some hard data and facts from an accredited source before writing an article or reposting a video of something blowing up. Do your own research, question everything, and think before opening your mouth otherwise you may end up dragging us all down with the best intentions. I’m amazed everyday by how little people think about what they repeat and say. This does nothing to help when you’re creating more doubt based on little bits of information and your personal feelings about some clear fear that you have about using a mechanical mod. What we all need right now is to band together to educate and support one another in participating in advocacy and going to any sort of State rallies against unfair business taxation and unfair laws enacted by the FDA. The problem is that just isn’t as headline-grabbing is it?

    • Bill Godshall

      I agree with ZenZephyr.

    • I’ve been vaping for nearly 10 years. I used mechs exclusively when they were all that was available and now I don’t, because I don’t need to. It’s my personal choice not to use mechs; I think they carry an additional risk for no benefit that I can perceive.

      I think you’re half right about there being a “fear-based agenda”. But I see it differently – there’s no doubt that many injuries have been caused by batteries or mods, and every single one of these has played into that agenda. Every single one of these was avoidable (see the horrific photo Raul posted below), but only avoidable if the user had been aware of the risks and taken action to avoid them.

      I don’t think I’m spreading more fear. I wrote a balanced article which I hope will actually help do exactly what needs to happen: explain that the problem is not with vaping per se but with the lack of understanding of the potential risks of misusing the product.

      I guess I just don’t get the “it’s the users’ fault for not educating themselves” line. How does a vaper educate themselves about a risk they don’t know exists without being told that there is a risk?

      I’m pretty sure I’m not being a dick about this.

    • JN

      That’s your opinion that this article gives FDA more ammo.
      In the link provided in the article, it seems battery explosions are giving FDA more ammo.
      The “safety of our children” is often the magic sentence to pass any regulation, good or bad, that’s basic politics 101.

      Most products on the market use internal batteries for a reason : it’s safer.
      Yep, it doesn’t always work, Samsung knows something about it 😉
      And yes we didn’t stop using cell phones because 1 model starts fire, so no we should not stop vaping because some media got all excited about a mod exploding.

      But come’on, what we’re doing is not “normal” by any usual industrial standard.
      Here is my source: last time I bought a pair of VTC4, I saw written on it “danger: do not use outside of battery pack”.
      We go against the manufacturer basic safety regulations, not as an exception, but as a general rule.

      So you’re all doing comparisons with cars and phones and stuff, but all these do follow a few rules.

      Now back to the world of vaping, mechs with rebuildables are the ones that explode. Period.
      Not often, I agree. But if we were all using regulated devices, we would have issues even less often.
      So as far as I’m concerned, I’ll try to convince every beginner I meet to not use these mechs.
      I won’t tell you, veteran, anything about anything, it’s not about you at all.

      By the way… “how long have you vaped ?”… Look I find this kind of comments rude so here it is:
      Look, if you’re a 20-years vaping veteran, you’re now a minority in the vaping world. Deal with it.

      It’s precisely new vapers who are the most at risk with mechs.
      It’s when teenagers start vaping massively that dumb politicians want to ban/restrict it…
      And no, not everybody do their research, and so what ? You expect every vaper to be smart ?

      Talking about fear, it seems to me vapers are afraid some of their favourite toys will be taken from them.
      Yes, I say toys, because if it was only about nicotine, I would not blow clouds this size.
      But… Talking about fear… Vaping is forbidden where I leave, you think that stopped me ? Please.
      Vape on.

  • Bill Godshall

    Unfortunately for public safety in the US, the Deeming Regulation imposed by Obama’s FDA banned the sales of all safer new vapor products in the US on August 8, 2016, and redefined vape shops as “manufacturers” to ban them from assembling (i.e. manufacturing) any new vapor product after August 8, 2016.

    Just as I repeatedly informed the FDA would occur since 2011, the Deeming Regulation threatens public health and safety by encouraging vapers to DIY their own mechs and to mix their own e-liquids (because most vape shops are complying with FDA’s ban on these same “manufacturing” procedures).

    Even worse, millions of more US vapers will begin DIY manufacturing their own vapor products
    (and/or will begin buying them from black/gray markets) after August 8, 2018 when the sale of all vapor products will be banned in the US (unless overturned by the courts, by US Congress and/or by the Trump Administration.

    FDA is hosting a conference on vapor product fires and explosions (to further demonize the vapor industry and to advocate even more unwarranted regulations on vapor products), but there is no reason for anyone in the vaping industry to attend the event (other than to point out FDA’s irresponsible actions and counterproductive regulation), since FDA has banned all vapor product improvements six months ago.

    • jlew

      I personally have seen no such ban as I purchased a brand new eLeaf iStick and new design tank in November that is new to the market…and I see local advertising for new products all the time and shops that still (and always will) make “house made” juices.
      That may just be around my State but I haven’t seen any such ban nor have I heard of any such thing.

    • Bill, you might want to blame the people who set the stage for this by pushing for FDA control over “all tobacco products.”

  • John E Bench

    7 years of vaping and I never had a problem with mech mods or batteries but after that happened to you I started carrying my bats in a battery case. Hope you healed up ok.

  • jlew

    I’m in agreement with everyone on the issue of this simply spreading more fear and needs to stop… Simply walking out the door is dangerous, so do we ban walking?
    Facts remain… it is generally misuse and lack of knowledge that cause the problems yet only a handful of injuries or accidents in several years is still insignificant considering cigarettes STILL TAKE hundreds of lives and injure hundreds more EVERY year… and cigarettes do this with no interference or misuse on the part of the consumer.
    Vaping is STILL 1000 times safer than smoking and 100 times better and healthier.
    I will take my chances.

  • deb22

    I will support vaping til I die! (which will be longer now that I vape) I have converted several smokers..starting with myself 7 yrs ago…I don’t use mech mods as a regular but do have one and used only after extensive research…As with any new thing I want to try …Vaping or otherwise, I do my research…Guess I didn’t research smoking when I started at age 13! Cigarettes weren’t banned even with all the hazards (btw I don’t condemn any smoker as I was there once, heavily)……Vaping saved me…no inhaler, no out of breath from going up stairs…can walk, run…Enjoy Life. Build my own coils, make my own juice, use the right batteries and use common sense….I own 25 mods and triple that in rda’s/rta’s with NEVER a problem…… I don’t need Apple products to live…I was given an Apple Iphone awhile ago…I am now looking forward to purchasing a new replacement phone…Sorry Apple…I am Pro Vaping…

  • Swerve

    Holy shit