There have been numerous reports of e-cigarettes exploding or catching fire around the world, and, in a sane move, US regulators will look to identify the culprits.
The Food and Drug Administration began its regulation of e-cigarettes earlier this month, claiming that they would regulate e-cigs as if they were regular cigarettes.
The FDA has been compiled 66 reports of e-cigs exploding or catching fire due to overheating from January 2015 to January 2016.
Over the last decade, e-cigs have gone from strength to strength, becoming the most popular method of quitting among smokers.
Dr. Carl Schulman of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Burn Center believes the number of reported eruptions is only an early indicator of the problem, and believes that there could be a lot more undocumented incidents.
“Locally we’ve seen several patients in the last couple of months who have had burns from electronic cigarettes, particularly exploding and catching fire in their clothing,” said Shulman.
“If it is just in their clothing, and they are not using it, then their clothing is catching fire and they are get a bad flame burn where that is, and our two patients actually needed surgery for their burns and if they are actually using it at the time it explodes there have been some reports of actual explosions so they get a blast injury and they catch fire.”
In 2014, a US Fire Administration reported that most of the incidents occurred whilst the battery was charging.
47 of the recorded incidents happened during use, 73 during charing, 30 during transport or storage and 23 explosions involved spare batteries.
“The shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like “flaming rockets” when a battery fails,” explained the report. “Using power sources not approved by the manufacturer to recharge a lithium-ion battery can result in an explosion and fire.”
“It is a relatively new phenomenon. I guess it is in the same trend as all the lithium-ion battery-type devices that are sometimes catching fire and exploding and we are seeing that with e-cigarettes as well,” said Dr. Schulman.
“Don’t interchange the devices. Some of these injuries have occurred because people are using different batteries and different chargers and that is causing electrical problems and they are catching fire and exploding.”
It is likely that all of the products have exploded or caught fire will be subject to the FDA’s regulation.