The US Navy may eliminate vaping on all Navy property. Basing its opinion on a series of battery mishaps, the Naval Safety Center is recommending a complete ban. According to the Navy Times, there have been a dozen injuries since 2015. The Navy does allow smoking in designated areas, except on submarines.
A dozen injuries doesn’t seem like many considering the size of the Navy workforce. There are over 330,000 active duty personnel in the Navy, almost 108,000 reserves, and nearly 210,000 civilian employees.
“Leadership is reviewing the Naval Safety Center’s recommendation regarding e-cigarettes, weighing both the safety and health-related risks,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Marycate Walsh told the Times.
Battery failure or user error?
The memo sent by the Safety Center claims that explosions happen because of overheating lithium ion batteries. “When the lithium-ion batteries overheat, the memo says, the seal surrounding them can fail and turn an e-cigarette into a small bomb,” says the Navy Times.
“Seven of the incidents occurred on Navy ships and at least two required the use of shipboard firefighting equipment to extinguish fires,” says the story. “Eight of the incidents occurred while the e-cigarette was in a sailor’s pocket, resulting in first- and second-degree burns.”
Vapers know that the most common reasons for battery mishaps come down to user error. Typical problems include batteries shorting in pockets with keys or coins, overcharging or using inappropriate chargers, and using hybrid mech mods with certain atomizers.
True battery failure is rare. Lithium ion batteries in vaping devices are very similar to those in laptops, and the batteries themselves probably have a similar failure rate. However, according to the Navy Times, laptop batteries aren’t considered a hazard. “The report notes that while laptops and cellphones also run on lithium-ion batteries, extensive testing has shown that they don’t tend to explode when they fail,” says the story.