June 2016

Shops are the First Line of Defense for Battery Safety

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By Corey Noles

Among the handful of issues that create negative attention for the vapor industry, accidents stemming from poor battery care are among the most frustrating. They harm the industry as a whole, feeding the misguided image that is painted daily of vapers. The worst part, though, is that they are entirely preventable.

When video footage appears of a battery venting in someone’s pocket or venting in a device near someone’s face, the damage done to the industry as a whole grows exponentially. While proper battery care is the responsibility of the owner, the first line of defense takes place at the shop.

Yes, many batteries are purchased second-hand, but the majority of sales are still coming from brick and mortar shops. This column isn’t to throw shops under the bus, but to remind everyone

When a store gets busy, it’s easy to rush through or skip the battery safety lecture — but with battery accidents becoming more common the need is greater than even to insure the public understands proper care.

Following are a few simple tips that will take sales clerks only a few seconds per customer:

  • Ask a customer if they understand proper battery care and maintenance.
  • Offer an explanation — explaining the importance of battery marriage, the danger of counterfeit batteries, the importance of smooth, in tact battery wraps.
  • Explain the danger of improperly inserting a battery.
  • Have a sheet to handout with the basics. ZampleBox has excellent sheets and posters that can be downloaded and distributed free of charge. Use them — it’s worth the ink. As the first line of defense, I would argue it should be a responsibility.
  • Offer FREE battery wraps. Battery wraps cost only a few cents and take seconds to install — far less time than a build or changing a coil. If this service prevents even one unnecessary accident, it will be worth the pennies.
  • Explain the proper use of a hybrid connection. With the rise in popularity of such devices, this is becoming increasingly important.

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  • Offer a trade-in service. Shave a percentage off the cost of new batteries for bringing in old batteries for proper disposal. Quite often these batteries wind up changing hands in trades and are the ultimate enemy of safe vaping.
  • Stress the importance of changing batteries in six to 12 month intervals depending on their level of usage..
  • Only order batteries from trustworthy outlets. With countless rewrap companies and counterfeit batteries running rampant, don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.
  • Adjust your battery prices to accommodate for including a battery box with each pair. The simple, plastic box that holds two is fine and they are dirt cheap at wholesale. The fact that vapers have to buy them separately makes them far less likely to purchase them.
  • Stop selling lousy chargers. Stick with the known and trusted chargers — Nitecore, Xtar and the Efest LUC series. All of these are time-tested and proven chargers.
  • Explain ohm’s law to anyone and everyone who will listen. Offer to check their builds. Show them how to do it themselves.

The most important role for any vape shop employee is that of a teacher. Treat each customer like they’re brand new. When times are busy, at least use the handouts.

While the ultimate responsibility falls on the individual vaper, tragic and careless accidents are harmful for the entire industry. If everyone steps up, most of these can be prevented. Our industry garners enough bad publicity without us contributing to the problem.

These same ideas apply to vapers themselves, not just stores. When you see your friends taking unnecessary risks, step in. Say something. Do it to protect your rights as a vaper and to ensure your friend — or customer — doesn’t become just another story on the evening news.

If we all do our part, the majority of these accidents can be prevented.

Corey Noles is the managing editor of VAPE Magazine. He has worked as a journalist since 2004 covering countless topics and is the owner/founder of Inked Up E-Liquid Co.