There have been a few very widely reported accidents with lithium ion batteries and e-cigarettes in the press over the years. The incidents don’t seem to have become very much more widespread in the time that vaping has, in all likelihood, seen a 10-20 fold increase in popularity; meaning we know the battery and charging technology is getting better, and we also know it will continue to get better in the hands of a responsible industry.
It is indisputable that in general, lithium ion batteries sold outside devices have improved. Yes, there is still a range of quality available, but the gap between the best and the worst has probably narrowed, or at least the worst don’t have a very noticeable presence in the market.
Why were Mech Mods ever needed?
Around 2010, possibly even earlier, some keen e-cigarette users realised that the power available from disposable and semi-disposable e-cigarettes of that time was rather low. This led to the creation of DIY “mods” (modified devices), normally with mechanical switches, that housed the larger lithium ion batteries that had recently become available. Before long similar devices were mass produced, and all of these provided much higher power and battery life than was available from a basic “cigalike” battery.
Every now and then an absolute horror story appears where someone has misused a mechanical mod with a low resistance coil, and sometimes with multiple battery cells fitted, and has suffered severe injuries through that misadventure. You have to wonder at that point we need to decide whether mechanical mods have any genuine relevance for vaping nowadays, when good short-circuit protected devices with regulated charging that can produce well in excess of 150 watts of power are available at really quite reasonable prices, and with control systems from the simple to the highly sophisticated.
So, why are they still being used?
The proportion of vapers with flagrant disregard for their own safety has probably diminished over the years – the early days of vaping were far more attractive to those with a cavalier sense of adventure, and in more recent times this has become a pastime that appeals more to the mainstream of people looking for an alternative to smoking. However, there is definitely a subset in the vaping world, and a significant one, that love huge clouds, and still enjoy the “steam punk” vibe that a lot of vape products can offer. Most of that subset know what they are doing, or where to find out, but there are clearly a few still out there that are wittingly or unwittingly putting themselves in a position where they stand a good chance of hurting themselves or those around them.
It would not be fair to say that mechanical mods are dangerous per se. Lots of people are still using them completely safely, and have been doing so for years. But the real question is whether they have any genuine relevance to vaping anymore. Maybe we should be calling time on them, and accepting that all other ways now seem to be better.