Here’s Why You Should Avoid Cheap Vape Pen Knock Offs

Orange County Fire Authority spokesperson Capt. Steve Concialdi holds the broken pieces of a modified electronic cigarette that exploded in someone’s hands.

By: Joseph Rollin Contributor

E-cigarettes, commonly referred to as vapes, have been gaining popularity in the past few years. It has reached a point where vapes of every shape style and form have been dispensed in the market, and more and more smokers have been turning to what is considered “a healthier form of smoking.” Among the different types of vapes is the vape pen, a slimmer version of the otherwise clunky vape. This form of e-cigarettes have been steadily increasing in popularity and use among regular vapers and those who are just starting.

Alternatives to nicotine ecigs, vapes are becoming common place for wax (THC) concentrates, vitamins, and even vape pens for CBD oil! Knowing what safety concerns with each of these mediums is important.

The rise in popularity did not come without any adverse effects. Other than the high-quality, somewhat expensive, but durable original vapes came cheap imitations. These imitations dominated the streets, and although cheaper, can be potentially dangerous. Which begs the question, “How safe is your vape pen?”

Cheap Vape Pens and Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is one of the major substances used in most ecig/vape pen cartridges. It is a chemical commonly mixed with cannabis or hemp oil as a thinning compound. Propylene Glycol is generally safe for ingestion and topical application, but if heated to certain temperatures may pose a health risk that may cause lung cancer.

Vaping technology uses heating coils to heat up the liquid inside the device and “vaporize” it, hence the term vaping. However, some cheap vapes are known to overheat the liquid, causing an effect called”smoldering” which is typically burning the liquid inside. It is this situation that can change a normally harmless chemical into lethal, carcinogenic, and damaging substance. The end product of this harmful process includes formaldehyde, a chemical used in embalming and is classified as a Group I Carcinogen.

Other substances found in vape oils that can become toxic if subjected to extreme heat are flavoring compounds such as diacetyl and acetyl propionyl which gives vapes a smooth and creamy feel as well as Cinnamon Ceylon.

Vapes are commonly manufactured with strict guidelines regarding voltage, amperage, and proper wiring. A cheap ripoff, on the other hand, may forego quality to mass produce the items.  

Vape Explosions

The most popular danger known to vaping is vape explosion. Several cases of the unfortunate accident have been recorded. Victims have experienced feeling the vape overheat in their pockets before bursting into flames, while others have experienced vapes exploding in their face while they were using it. These unfortunate accidents happen for a variety of reason, yet the most notable causes are faulty wiring, battery failure, and overheating.

Vapes uses lithium-ion batteries, and these are more powerful than the more common nickel-cadmium batteries used in remotes. Lithium-ion batteries are highly unstable, especially in the presence of outside heat, such as direct sunlight, short-circuits, and over-charging. The latter has been known as the most prevalent cause of vape explosion, with causes ranging from using a non-specific charger for the vape to chargers having mismatched voltage with the batteries.

Why Cheap, Ripoff Vapes Increases Risk

All technology contains a certain risk upon use, yet all of these dangers have been addressed in manufacturing to keep the risk of danger near zero percent. However, due to the fast money-making schemes typical to fake manufacturers, several oversights and budget cuts may turn your vape into a ticking time bomb. This is why you should always go for tested brands of herb or wax vaporizers. Here are some factors that may increase the risk of using your vape from zero to disaster:

Cheap materials. Any item sold cheaply means that one way or another, corners have been cut to accommodate mass production within a low budget. These include using cheaper materials to be used in production, such as thin copper wires rather than wires with more strands, brittle plastic for the covers, and low-grade aluminum for the metal parts. Mass production also means fast production, which means that the wiring inside the device may have been connected haphazardly. These flaws can produce more heat than in the coils than what is needed, converting Propylene Glycol into a harmful poison.

Poorly constructed batteries. As mentioned above, Lithium-ion batteries are severely unstable if exposed to high temperatures over a period of time. Low-grade batteries use cheap metals in the battery housing, causing these to pop open when the chemicals inside the battery heat up, which leads to leaks and explosions.

Brittle Plastic Housing.  Some laptop models also utilize lithium-ion batteries, however, those are covered with extremely durable plastic that can contain the chemicals inside them in case of a battery leak. Ripoff vapes on the other hand cut corners in the plastic they use, and once the pressure becomes too strong inside the device after a battery leak, the weak plastic has a high chance of exploding, injuring anyone using it or near it.

Final Thoughts:

It’s not the price that matters when you are trying to keep safe when using vapes. There are cheap variations that are still manufactured by legitimate industries. What increases the risk of danger is purchasing and using vapes from an online store or a local shop without proper scrutiny. Be aware of what you are buying and do not just pick just because it is ”cheaper than the rest.” Choose quality over price. Not just with vaporizers, but technology in general.


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