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Fire Service warns against improper use and disposal of e-cigarettes

Posted on 21 February 2023

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has released a new warning on the improper use and disposal of e-cigarettes, and the fire risk they present.

Around one million vapes are discarded every week. Fires can happen both at waste collection centres where they are disposed of incorrectly, or fires where owners tamper or modify cables to recharge their vapes.

Online examples have shown people modifying USB cables to essentially use the bare wires for charging single-use lithium ion batteries.

Even in the cases where lithium ion batteries are rechargeable, using the incorrect charger can over-charge the battery. This causes thermal runaway and an extreme violent failure, with hot debris projecting from the battery like a firework, which can lead to a fire or serious injury of a person.

Fire Investigation Watch Manager Richard Booth said "e-cigarette and vape fires can cause a great fire risk to our communities. 

"We strongly recommend that people do not modify or tamper with any e-cigarette. If the e-cigarette is re-chargeable then make sure the correct charger is used. For single use or disposable e-cigarettes, you must dispose of them in the correct manner so they don't create a fire hazard at a waste collection site.

“If you have any vape or e-cigarette that has been damaged, we recommend that you no longer use it, as damaged lithium-ion batteries are also a fire hazard”.

single use e-cigarette that has been dismantled, showing contents of cylinder