The U.S. Department of Transportation announced this week that it is permanently banning passengers and crew members from carrying e-cigarettes in checked baggage or from charging the devices on the aircraft. According to a Fox News report, officials pointed to a number of recent incidents, which show that the devices could catch fire during transport. Passengers may still continue to carry e-cigarettes for personal use in carry on baggage or on their person, but may not use them on flights or charge them during the flight.
The rule covers battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices including e- cigarettes, e-cigars and e-pipes, but does not prohibit passengers from transporting other devices such as laptop computers or cell phones, which also use lithium ion batteries, like e-cigarettes. The big difference, however, is that while the batteries used in laptops in cell phones are quality-controlled and tested, a number of batteries and chargers used with e- cigarettes are cheaply produced using substandard parts in other countries.
E-Cig Explosions in Bags
This rule makes a temporary ban instituted in November become permanent. There have been several incidents where e-cigarettes have exploded or combusted in passengers’ bags. In August 2014, an e-cigarette device in a passenger’s checked bag in the cargo hold of an aircraft caused a fire forcing the evacuation of the plane at Boston’s Logan Airport.
In January 2015, a checked bag that arrived late caught fire in a baggage area at the Los Angeles International Airport. In that case, an overheated e-cig inside the bag was blamed for the fire. Officials say this problem has been worsened by the increase in smokers who modify and rebuild their e-cig devices by swapping components such as batteries, heating elements and electronic components.
Injuries and Damages
E-cigarette explosions have caused a number of serious injuries from facial injuries, burns and broken bones to landing victims in a coma. There have been a number of reports in Orange County and elsewhere of e-cigs exploding in a person’s face while in use, catching fire while tucked away in a pocket or just spontaneously ignited when left lying around. It is unacceptable for manufacturers to produce products and accessories that pose such a significant risk to consumers. We are pleased to note that the government has made the ban of e-cigs from checked baggage permanent.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as the result of a defective e-cigarette or component, an experienced e-cig injury attorney who has handled similar cases can help you better understand your legal rights and options. You may be eligible to receive compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injuries such as scarring or disfigurement and pain and suffering.