Citing battery explosions and injuries, U.S. Navy bans vaping on ships and aircraft

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Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

Fairfax, VA – The U.S. Navy has announced a ban on e-cigarettes and other vaping devices on ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment.

The ban, set to go into effect May 14, stems from repeated reports of explosions, which may result from the overheating and expansion of lithium-ion batteries during use, charging, replacement or incidental contact with metal objects.

According to a Navy memorandum, 15 “mishaps” involving electronic nicotine delivery systems occurred from October 2015 to June 15, 2016, including eight aboard Naval vessels or aircraft. Related injuries included first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement.

The policy prohibits possession, use or charging of the devices and applies to all sailors, marines, military sealift command civilians, and working or visiting personnel. It “will remain in effect until a final determination can be made following a thorough analysis,” an April 14 press release states.

Supervisors should confirm that batteries have been removed from devices and stored in plastic wrap, plastic bags or other non-conductive storage containers. Units under deployment are eligible to request extensions on device removal until their vessel’s next port visit.

Sailors on shore may use the devices only in designated, on-base smoking areas.

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