Apr 18, 2017 11:59 AM EDT
The United States Navy has barred sailors from bringing into their submarines, ships and even aircraft electronic cigarettes and related accessories. Surprisingly, the prohibition was made not for health reasons, but for safety reasons. Apparently, the e-cigarettes have been banned aboard U.S. Navy vessels after several explosion incidents involving the batteries used for the said devices injured the sailors. The incidents happened not only while the devices are being charged but also when these are actually being used.
The Naval Safety Center issued the warning against the e-cigars as early as August last year, but the new policy was released only last Friday, as per. When it takes effect on May 14, Navy personnel must completely remove all the banned devices from the fleet immediately, or until their next port visit. Malfunctioning and exploding electronic cigarettes and vaping accessories have led to emergency aircraft landings and ship fires that left several sailors with disfigured faces and second-degree burns, according to the Miltary.
The U.S. Navy ban on the electronic cigarettes is expected to hurt the E-cigarette industry considering that it is already facing close scrutiny due to concerns about product safety. The U.S. Department of Transportation earlier prohibited electronic smoking devices from being used onboard the airlines or carried in the checked baggage of both the crew and their passengers. The increased concern about the safety of the vaping devices has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to schedule a safety workshop for concerned citizens.
A memorandum issued by the Navy showed 15 incidents arising from the explosion of electronic cigarettes and related devices from October last year to June this year, according to NPR. The Navy noted an increased use of E-cigarettes among its personnel. Manufacturers of vaping devices are aware of the safety issues and have reportedly taken steps to improve product safety. An official of Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris, blamed the incorrect charging of the product for the overheating of the battery.
The FDA's Center for Tobacco Products received 137 incidents of overheating electronic cigarettes in a span of six years from 2009 and 20 reports of overheating and explosions last year. FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said the reports received by the Agency for some of the products that it regulates are actually lesser than actual events. This means there could be more adverse incidents involving the E-cigarettes.