Smoking can be bad for your health ─ and it seems those e-cigarettes designed to help people quit can be just as damaging.
37-year-old Chris Thomas from south Wales was charging his Vapouriz Tank electronic cigarette using the 12v socket in his car when it shot out ‘like a firework’, causing the upholstery in the back seat of his Skoda Superb company car to catch fire.
The resulting fire reportedly caused major damage to one of the rear seats, a child seat, front headrests and visors while thick smoke blackened the windows.
“The car alarm went off in the early hours of the morning so I went out and saw there was no-one around and clicked it off and went back to bed,” vehicle engineer Mr Thomas told the Daily Mail.
“I got up about an hour later for work and when I went out to the car I found everything burnt out. The cigarette had been charging in the front point and it’s as if it went off like a firework.”
He added: “I can’t believe what happened. When I told my partner she was shocked. What if it was in the house charging and had gone off inside?”
“God knows what would have happened then, or if it had gone off when we were driving and I’ve got children inside the car,” he added.
Vapouriz advises users not to leave the cigarettes unattended as they charge up. That means you need to stay put for around five hours until the device is fully charged.
A spokesman for Vapouriz claimed a faulty charger could be to blame for the incident. “Chris Thomas has not contacted us with regards to any complaint, and actually purchased ‘e-liquid’, which in its diluted form is not flammable, from us only four days ago.”
“Mr Thomas, having used three different brands of e-cigarettes over a four-month period, has allegedly had each one ‘blow up’ – this leads me to think that he may be using wrong or unsuitable chargers,” he added.
This is not the first case of an e-cigaratte – also known as a personal vaporiser – causing fire damage. A three-year-old American child was burned when his mother’s randomly blew up while charging.
Without specific details of the incident, it’s hard to ascertain who or what is to blame. Perhaps it’s best not to leave anything being charged in your car unattended just in case.