Dozens of exploding E-cigarette reports have prompted the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to schedule a public meeting on the matter. The two-day event will be convened on April 19th and 20th, and is intended to “gather information and stimulate discussion” about e-cigarette battery safety concerns.
According to the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, there have been 134 reports of e-cigarettes exploding, overheating or catching fire from 2009 to January 2016. More than 50 people were injured, and at least 67 of the incidents involved property damage beyond the e-cigarette itself.
E-cigarettes are hand-held devices that vaporize liquid nicotine. Last March, safety concerns over the device’s lithium-ion batteries prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prohibit the charging of the e-cigarette batteries on passenger flights. E-cigarettes are also banned from checked luggage.
Individuals who wish to attend the FDA e-cigarette workshop in person or by Webcast must register by than March 17, 2017. The agency will hold a public comment session on April 20, 2017, during which time comments from the public will be accepted. Individuals who wish to present during the public comment session should indicate this at the time of registration.
E-cigarettes have been available since 2007, and their manufacturers often market the devices as a way to help smokers kick their habit. However, their potential health effects haven’t been well studied. In 2009, the FDA revealed that its testing had detected “levels of toxic cancer-causing chemicals, including an ingredient used in anti-freeze, in two leading brands of e-cigarettes and 18 various cartridges.”
Last May, the agency banned the sale of e-cigarettes, as well as cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, to minors. The FDA also said that it would require manufacturers to submit these products to the agency for regulatory review, provide it with a list of product ingredients, and place health warnings on their product packages and in advertisements.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use among high school students grew from 1.5% in 2011 to 16% in 2015. It is estimated that as many as 3 million middle and high school students use the devices.