Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) to use its new regulatory powers to investigate — and possibly recall — e-cigarette products that have the potential to explode.
The FDA finalized rules last week giving the agency oversight of e-cigarettes and other products like cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco. Schumer wants the FDA to use its new authority to look into cases of exploding e-cigarettes.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to the dangers of exploding e-cigarette devices, especially when many of the injured are teens,” Schumer said in a press release. “It’s bad enough that e-cigarettes cause nicotine addiction and may be dangerous to a person’s health, but now it seems they’re doubling as a ticking time bomb.”
The senator pointed out exploding e-cigarettes have recently injured four New Yorkers, including a 14-year-old who was blinded in one eye earlier this year when an e-cigarette exploded in his face at the Kings Plaza Mall. The Mill Basin teen filed a lawsuit alleging the shop clerk plugged the product into the wrong battery, causing it to explode, the Daily News reports.
A similar incident happened to a 17-year-old in Ogden New York, causing burns to the teen’s face, hands and throat. And two people, one in Queens and another in Long Island, were burned when e-cigarettes caught fire in their pockets, the senator said.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 25 reports of e-cigarettes catching fire nationwide between 2009 and 2014. Nine of the incidents caused injuries.
The report said e-cigarettes have the potential to behave like “flaming rockets” when their lithium-ion batteries fail.
Schumer urged the FDA to take these cases seriously.
“Now that the FDA has asserted full regulatory oversight over e-cigarettes, the agency should use this authority to investigate whether these repeated explosions require a recall or more warnings,” he said. “The FDA should determine whether these vaping devices are flawed and require a recall if necessary, to make sure these explosions stop.”