Since first entering the US market in 2007, electronic cigarettes have become increasingly popular, with sales reaching $1.5 billion in 2014.
Uncertainties abound about this relatively new technology, ranging from the health effects of this alternative to traditional cigarettes to the threat of injury resulting from fire or explosions caused by e-cigarettes.
Last week, NFPA released a report about the increase in fires and explosions from the use of e-cigarettes. By tracking media coverage of fires caused by e-cigarettes, NFPA has determined that these sorts of fires are on the rise. There were 15 incidents reported in 2015 alone, up from 25 reported between 2009 and 2014. While e-cigarette fire events are rare, the report concludes they can cause injuries so severe that greater regulatory oversight of the technology behind e-cigarettes may be in order.
The report also notes that fires could be linked to e-cigarettes’ power source, lithium-ion batteries, which are often found in rechargeable devices. NFPA Journal™ has covered issues related to lithium-ion batteries in the past and included a Fire Protection Research Foundation report on lithium-ion batteries describing the dangers associated with these energy storage systems.