In our article on vape explosions, we identified the number one source of thermal burns from vaping as loose batteries. Some vapers without proper battery education carry extra batteries in their pockets, which is a definite no-no.
When you hit the power button on your mod, a circuit competes between the positive and negative poles of the battery, and power flows to the device. Any conductive material that connects the two poles will do the same thing. But if there’s no device drawing power from the battery, it causes a short circuit and the energy flows from one end of the battery into the other, causing rapid overheating, and possibly a fire or explosion.
The FDA researchers agree. According to their study, 77.3 percent of injuries in 2016 were to the upper leg or lower trunk (thighs, abdomen, hips, crotch). “Examination of the case narrative field indicated that at least 20 of the burn injuries occurred while ENDS batteries were in the user’s pocket,” write the authors.
After the leg/trunk, the most common burn location was the hard or lower arm (19.7 percent). Just 3.1 percent were to other body parts (head, neck, upper torso, lower legs and feet). Of course, most of the ones that make the news involve burns to the face.
Only one of the emergency room patients was a woman. That’s almost certainly because women don’t carry batteries in their pockets. Likewise, among vapers 55 and older, there was just one burn. But 18.9 percent of the injuries were suffered by people 18 or younger.