E-cigarette dangerous goods

Why are e-cigarettes considered dangerous goods?

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that work by heating a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales and exhales in the form of vapour. This is where the term ‘vaping’ stems from.

E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes, but they all contain a heating element, a place to hold liquid and most of them are powered by a lithium-ion battery. Whilst many appear to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, some can look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items. The liquids used in e-cigarettes may contain a range of flavoured chemicals, such as propylene glycol and glycerin, and some can also contain nicotine.

How can using an e-cigarette be dangerous? 

Whilst many of the dangers of using e-cigarettes, including inhaling the vapour, are still being understood, and have been shown to harm the lungs, the lithium battery component is what can make e-cigarettes dangerous for handling, transport, and storage.

A number of incidents involving e-cigarettes have reportedly been caused by a reaction with the lithium-ion battery component of the device. For example, when an e-cigarette comes into contact with a coin or a key, it can short circuit the device, causing it to overheat or explode. As seen in the video below, the e-cigarette’s lithium battery has reacted with a coin in the man’s pocket, causing a reaction called thermal runaway.

How to avoid incidents involving e-cigarette batteries  

Incidents involving e-cigarettes (and similar devices that contain lithium batteries) and their lithium battery component can be avoided by adhering to the following steps:

  • Not modifying the product in any way
  • Charging the battery only with the charger it comes with – it is important the battery is charged with the correct charging device
  • Not leaving the device plugged in once fully charged
  • Avoiding charging it overnight
  • Not using the device whilst it is charging
  • Not using the device if the battery is damaged, leaking, or wet – if the battery is damaged, the device should be properly disposed of
  • Discarding the device if batteries start to get hot
  • Disposing of them appropriately

For more information or advice on proper storage, handling and transport of dangerous goods, such as lithium batteries, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: the information in this article is not intended to be used as a complete guide, it won’t suit every e-cigarette situation or type of transport as it contains recommendations of a general nature. Compliance requirements and safety standards can only be met by applying professional advice specific to each transportation situation. If you’d like more information or require advice for your dangerous goods management system, please contact us here.  

How to avoid incidents involving e-cigarette batteries  

Incidents involving e-cigarettes (and similar devices that contain lithium batteries) and their lithium battery component can be avoided by adhering to the following steps:

  • Not modifying the product in any way
  • Charging the battery only with the charger it comes with – it is important the battery is charged with the correct charging device
  • Not leaving the device plugged in once fully charged
  • Avoiding charging it overnight
  • Not using the device whilst it is charging
  • Not using the device if the battery is damaged, leaking, or wet – if the battery is damaged, the device should be properly disposed of
  • Discarding the device if batteries start to get hot
  • Disposing of them appropriately

For more information or advice on proper storage, handling and transport of dangerous goods, such as lithium batteries, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: the information in this article is not intended to be used as a complete guide, it won’t suit every e-cigarette situation or type of transport as it contains recommendations of a general nature. Compliance requirements and safety standards can only be met by applying professional advice specific to each transportation situation. If you’d like more information or require advice for your dangerous goods management system, please contact us here.  

Marair Dangerous Goods Specialists

Melbourne

12 Allied Drive
Tullamarine Victoria 3043 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8318 4500

Perth

55 Tacoma Circuit
Canning Vale WA 6155 Australia
Phone: +61 8 6350 0200

Sydney

Unit 7 14 Childs Road
Chipping Norton NSW 2170 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9727 3284

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