The U.S. Navy will be instituting a ban on electronic cigarettes onto its ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment because of the devices’ high risk of explosion due to their lithium-ion batteries. The Navy made this known in a statement issued in mid-April. The ban will go into force on May 14 and is only temporary in nature while Navy officials review the safety concerns of the electronic cigarettes and the lithium-ion batteries used to power them.
Individuals who are stationed on land will still be allowed to use the devices, but just in designated areas. Those who want to take their electronic cigarettes onboard a ship will be able to do so, but will have to remove the lithium-ion batteries and keep them stored in a plastic container, according to Navy officials.
Last year, Navy Times reported that the Naval Safety Center called for a full ban of the devices on Navy property, citing their “significant and unacceptable risk.” The Navy reported that 15 separate “mishaps” occurred between October 2015 and June 15, 2016, which resulted in either injury to Navy personnel or “fire/materiel damage.” The navy reported that eight of these incidents occurred onboard vessels or aircraft. Nine incidents were reported as being explosive and two explosions resulted in second-degree burns and facial disfigurement to service members.
Given the relatively new nature of e-cigarettes, many rules and regulations around the devices have only recently been finalized. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only made official its first regulations for e-cigarettes in 2016. Also recent was the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to formally ban e-cigarette use on commercial flights.
Sources: NPR and The U.S. Navy
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