The advise comes after an Island couple had a lucky escape when a charger they were using for an e-cigarette exploded. They had plugged it into a wall socket when it exploded, causing two small fires in their lounge. They quickly extinguished the flames, but had to replace their carpet.
Amanda Gregory, Isle of Wight Council regulatory services manager, said:
“Anyone who uses an e-cigarette should always use the charger that comes with it and never use other equipment. Ideally, anyone purchasing an e-cigarette should ensure it comes with charging guidelines and to follow these.
“If you do charge your e-cigarette from the mains, you should ask your retailer for a standard 240 volt socket which can be bought separately. We are seeing people plug e-cigarettes in wall chargers that are designed for equipment such as mobile phones or tablets. These are much more powerful which can overload them. It is this which can cause overheating and the potential for more serious incidents.
“Anyone buying or using an e-cigarette should always check with their retailer or the manufacturer on how to safely charge it.”
Julian Fountaine, Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service community prevention manager, added:
“Using a charger on any electrical device it is not designed for is very dangerous and we have seen cases across the country of e-cigarettes exploding and causing harm or damage.
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“Fortunately the couple whose e-cigarette exploded were lucky and were not hurt, but it could have been a lot more serious. Had they not been there to put out the fires that were caused, such as if it happened in the middle of the night or when they were out, we could have been looking at a major house fire.”
There are safety tips you can follow when charging an electronic cigarette. These are:
- Never leave your e-cigarette unattended whilst charging, especially not overnight.
- Consider a fireproof bag for charging.
- When screwing in the charger, do not over tighten it as this can cause damage.
- If your product doesn’t come with instructions, ask for a refund and inform trading standards.
- Do not charge your e-cigarette on a flammable surface such as a bed or sofa.
- Only buy your e-cigarette, accessories and liquid from a reputable source.
There is advice and video demonstrations of tests carried out on chargers at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.