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Exploding E-Cigarettes Frequency May Force FDA to Issue Regulations

Mar 1, 2016

E-cigarettes have been touted as a means to aid in the effort to stop smoking and have been helpful to some people in attaining that end. However, an increase in explosions and fires caused by these devices has led to investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding their safety, ABC News reports.

Studies of two popular brands of e-cigarettes by the FDA have revealed carcinogens (nitrocamines) and dyethaline glycol, an anti-freeze component and toxic to humans, present in the product. In addition, although there was also ‘no nicotine' announced on the label, there was some nicotine found.

The main danger appears to exist during charging of the device. E-cigarettes use a lithium battery which stores a large amount of energy in a compact amount of space. It has been called a "mini-bomb in your pocket" due to its known ability to spontaneously ignite, reports ABC News.

Poor design, low quality of materials, manufacturer's flaws and defects, and improper use can contribute to a condition known as "thermal runaway," where the internal battery temperature can increase causing battery fires or explosions. In October 2015, a new regulation by federal transportation officials banned e-cigarettes from being allowed on airplanes in checked luggage due to the potential fire hazard, according to Marketwatch.

Public opinion seems to support the FDA. Sixty (60%) percent of 3,000 Americans surveyed said e-cigarettes should be regulated like tobacco products, Morningstar reported. The U.S. Fire Administration, under FEMA, announced in 2014 that the FDA would be investigating the possible health ramifications connected to e-cigarettes, without including the battery issue. The current climate, however, with the increase in e-cigarette use and an increase in fire and explosion hazards, has convinced the FDA to revisit the regulation issue.

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