Vaping News

Second Explosion in New York

Another vaper is in the media because he carried loose batteries in his trouser pocket.

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Just a week after the story of batteries venting at Grand Central station, the same lawyer presents another victim to the media. Ricardo Jiminez, a 24-yr old EMT (ambulance worker), was driving through Manhattan when cells in his pocket had an electrical short due to coins or keys.

Training information to become an EMT states: “To be eligible for an EMT training program, candidates must have keen senses, especially eyesight and color vision.” Clearly, they don’t need to have the keen sense not to store loose lithium-ion cells in pockets or bags.

Jiminez suffered burns to his thigh from a shorting battery. Media stories claiming that it was an electronic cigarette are false, he admits to having loose cells in his pocket. Something else like keys or coins was able to form an electrical circuit; the cells went into a thermal runaway phase and began venting.

The vaper says he’s been unable to work for a week now, and is going to great lengths to make out he can’t walk unaided either, hobbling into a recent meeting with journalists using a walking frame.

Despite the accident being entirely his own fault (by his own admission), Jiminez has retained the services of the same lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, who is representing Otis Gooding. Gooding is the focus of last week’s story, where many believe he also had a loose cell in his pocket.

Rubenstein said: “Until manufacturers identify and correct the product causing E-cig and their batteries from exploding, I call on Federal, State and local elected officials to ban them from being carried on public transportation, buses and trains as they pose a threat to safety of the public.”

Planet of the Vapes can help you, Mr. Rubenstein, the product is not at any fault – it’s a case of looking at school science. A short circuit means that electricity flows faster between the poles of a cell, causing damage to the battery’s internal structure and raising its temperature.

Rubenstein continues: “The Federal Drug Administration must take a hard look and suspend the sale of e-cigarettes and e-cigarette batteries until such time that the manufacturers of these products correct the product defect that causes them to explode.”

Unfortunately, until someone changes the laws of physics, the lawyer’s aims will remain unmet. The key problem with his demand is that he claims batteries explode – the venting of sparks and chemicals takes place in order to prevent cells from exploding when being subjected to a short circuit.

The only solution for people like Rubenstein’s clients, who want to vape but don’t want to take responsibility for looking after batteries safely, is to use equipment where the power supply is sealed inside and not swappable.

Some might question why incidents like this do not happen more often with conventional AA or AAA batteries? The answer is in the amount of energy the cells store. The advantage of the lithium-ion cells used in vaping is that they store much more energy – which means they are more dangerous when they vent. POTV strongly recommends that vapers use insulating cases or jackets for batteries when being carried in pockets or bags.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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