E-Cigarette Plugged Into iPad Charger Explodes in Front of Bartender

Behind a bar in England, an e-cigarette exploded, covering a woman in sparks and flames. E-cigarettes are controversial, but not usually for blowing up.

According to the report and video from the York Press, bartender Laura Baty was showered in flames when her co-worker's e-cigarette blew up all over her. The e-cig had been had been plugged into an iPad charger—presumably the butt of an iPad charger, unless they're making e-cig batteries which lightning connectors these days (they're not). Scary. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured in the incident.

Like most consumer gadgets, e-cigarettes use batteries with lithium-ion chemistry. It's well documented that li-ion batteries are prone to exploding. This isn't one of the usual dangers which we think of in the current debate over e-cigarettes, but maybe it should be. Or at least, it should be a reminder that we need more of a regulatory structure in place to deal with them.

In the mean time, though, maybe don't use an iPad plug to charge your e-cigarette. Different charges have different purposes, and crossing the streams in general isn't recommended. Apple's USB wall warts, in particular, are more complicated than those the usual butts you plug USB cables into. [York Press via Metro UK]