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Due to concerns over the risk of exploding e-cigarette batteries, which have been linked to reports of severe burn and other injuries, the U.S. Navy is reportedly considering a ban on the increasingly popular vaping devices.
According to a story by the Navy Times, the Naval Safety Center sent out a memo on August 11, determining that e-cigarettes pose a “significant and unacceptable” risk to sailors, ships, aircraft and facilities. As a result, Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet are considering implementing a ban throughout the Navy.
The Naval Safety Center warned that it has logged a dozen injuries linked to exploding e-cigarette batteries since October 2015. Seven of those incidents occurred on board naval vessels, two of caused fires which had to be extinguished. In eight of the incidents, the e-cigarette was in a sailor’s pocket when it exploded, and in two cases the devices exploded in sailors’ mouths.
There is already a partial ban in place on lithium-ion batteries used in certain vapes. However, the proposed ban would affect all forms of e-cigarettes.
The proposed Navy ban follows reports of e-cigarette explosions nationwide, and bans and warnings by multiple agencies.
The FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products released a report in March in the journal Tobacco Control that identified at least 92 reports of electronic cigarette explosions between 2009 and September 2015. However this report is considered to be outdated and severely unrealistic of the number of injuries caused by the devices.
Other reports have placed the number of incidents much higher. A report in April by Ecigone.com indicated there had been nearly 160 exploding or combusting e-cig incidents reported through the media at that time, with many likely going unreported due to the user’s right to privacy or embarrassment to report.
Many people support e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes while others turn to the devices to help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes. However, a study published last year revealed e-cigarettes may be just as addictive as traditional cigarettes and release ten times the amount of some cancer-causing agents.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that nearly 15% of U.S. adults have tried the popular e-cigarettes at least once and estimate nearly 4 percent of the population are regular users.
In May, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) banned all forms of electronic smoking devices from checked baggage on aircrafts, and e-cigarette devices and batteries may not be charged aboard any aircraft. The rule was finalized by the agency following several recent reports of e-cigarettes catching on fire inside of checked luggage.
Earlier this month the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a safety advisory warning owners and operators of commercial motor vehicles of the risk of e-cigarette explosions.