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Mechanic shares photo of unexpected object that punctured vehicle's tire: 'This will be increasingly common'

"They're everywhere here."

"They're everywhere here."

Photo Credit: iStock

Cigarette butts are one of the most littered items — and now there are e-cigarettes, too.

A Redditor shared an image to r/justrolledintotheshop of their damaged tire after driving over a vape.

Photo Credit: Reddit

"My tire was punctured tonight by a vape pen, of all things," they wrote.

The picture shows a pomegranate puff bar embedded in the user's tire. Unfortunately, these bright-colored bars are commonly littered. This parent found two Elf bars in the grass at a public park — a definite fire hazard.

Electronic cigarettes — vape pens, puff bars, and others — are rechargeable or disposable nicotine delivery devices. Inside their plastic shell, they're composed of batteries, coils, metals, and nicotine. Many of these e-cigarettes are not rechargeable — and thus not reusable — and are thrown away. 

A survey from Truth Initiative found that "more than half (51%) of young e-cigarette users reported disposing of used e-cigarette pods or empty disposables in the trash, 17% in a regular recycling bin not designed for e-cigarette waste, and 10% reported they simply throw them on the ground."

Left in landfills, their plastic shells will never fully degrade — they will break down into microplastics that pollute our waterways, according to the National Ocean Service. The lithium batteries inside are flammable, and the nicotine liquid contaminates all recyclables.

Unfortunately, there's no current standard on how to properly dispose of electronic cigarettes, as the San Francisco Standard reported. Their toxic components prevent them from being recycled, but they shouldn't go in the trash, either. 

While Truth Initiative suggests "disposing of empty pods or disposable vapes by dropping them off or sending them for electronic recycling," that may not be an option for everyone.

Check out our recycling guide to learn more about what can and can't be recycled.

Commenters were frustrated by the litter and its impact on the user and the environment.

"They're everywhere here," one user commented. "I work at a vape shop and every night I close up I go scavenge the parking lot and I'll have to pick up 3~5 … On behalf of responsible people who vape sorry about your tire."

"This will be increasingly common," another said.

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