U.S. Navy Bans E-Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes have been banned on U.S. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment after a number of incidents.

The concern centers around the risk of explosion or fire from lithium-ion batteries in e-cigarettes, the Navy said.

The ban takes effect May 14 and applies to all military and civilian personnel. The use of e-cigarettes will still be allowed on bases, but only in designated smoking areas, National Public Radio reported.

The ban will remain in effect until a risk analysis is completed.

There were 15 e-cigarette-related mishaps between October 2015 and June 15, 2016 that resulted in either injuries or damage, according to a Navy memorandum, NPR reported.

"Eight of these incidents occurred onboard Naval vessels/aircraft," the memo said. "Nine of 15 reported incidents described the failure mechanism as explosive. ... Two battery explosions occurred with the electronic cigarette in the service member's mouth resulting in facial and dental injuries."

An article in the Navy magazine Sea Compass describes the cases of two sailors whose e-cigarette batteries exploded. One suffered first-degree burns, while the other's car was destroyed by fire, NPR reported.

"Imagine what would have happened if the batteries had exploded while in their home, the barracks or even onboard their ship," the article says. "The loss of property and potential loss of life could have been catastrophic."


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