The US Navy is banning vaping on ships after at least a dozen reports of explosions and injuries.
Naval commanders said in a statement Friday that the temporary electronic cigarette policy aims to protect sailors and the fleet. It starts next month.
Officials cited overheated batteries in vaping equipment as the problem. Explosions have led to fires, first-degree burns and facial disfigurement.
The US Navy is banning vaping on ships after at least a dozen reports of explosions and injuries. Here sailors puff on e-cigarettes aboard the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft in 2015
During a recent eight-month stretch, 12 incidents put sailors out of work for a combined 77 days. Injuries also restricted some to light duty for a total of five months.
Two sailors had their e-cigarettes explode in their face, resulting in facial and dental injuries, the Navy Times reports.
The policy goes into effect May 14, but sailors at sea can request extensions. The Navy says it will make a final determination on e-cigarettes after more analysis.
Vaping will still be allowed on land in designated areas.
The problem of exploding e-cigarettes isn’t limited to the Navy.
Two sailors had their e-cigarettes explode in their face, resulting in facial and dental injuries
Surgeons and firemen have warned about the dangers of e-cigarettes after treating a string of civilian smokers injured by exploding devices.
The number of injuries caused by exploding e-cigarettes is on the rise, the FDA has warned, with 66 explosions occurring in 2015 and early 2016 alone.
That’s compared with 92 explosions between 2009 and September 2015 – averaging around 18 a year, or 27 per cent of the most recent totals.
And those figures could be an undercount – just one hospital, Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, says it has seen about 23 patients with e-cigarette burns since it started tracking them informally in October 2015.
The policy goes into effect May 14, but sailors at sea can request extensions and vape on land
Faulty batteries, coupled with increasing popularity, are the suspected culprits in the dramatic increase in injuries. The industry maintains e-cigarettes are safe when used properly.
The problems with the devices are linked to their lithium-ion batteries, which help vaporize liquid nicotine into a mist that distributors and some health experts say is far less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The same types of batteries are used safely in many consumer electronics, but they’ve also been behind fires in hover boards and smartphones.