Electronic cigarettes are increasingly popular, with more than 2.5 million Americans using the electronic nicotine delivery systems to “light up.” Sales of e-cigarettes also more than doubled in 2014, totaling an estimated at $1.7 billion.
While manufacturers tout e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional smoking, concerns are growing about the potential health and safety risks. In addition to the health concerns related to inhaling nicotine and other chemicals, the lithium batteries that power the devices can also cause serious harm.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes, also called a personal vaporizers (PV), are battery-powered devices that simulate tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor that resembles smoke. The devices have a heating element to vaporize a liquid solution, which …show more content…
In “automatic” e-cigarettes, the heating coil activates when a user takes a drag from the device. Manual e-cigarettes require the user to press a switch to energize the heating element to make the heated vapor. All e-cigarettes rely on a rechargeable battery to power the device.
Exploding Batteries Pose Safety Risks
Twenty-five separate incidents of explosion and fire involving an e-cigarette were reported in the United States media between 2009 and August 2014, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. In one recent incident, a 17-year old New Hampshire girl suffered serious burns when her e-cigarette battery exploded in her hand.
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that most of the incidents involving exploding e-cigarettes occurred while the battery was charging. “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,” the Fire Administration report states.