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Cell phone vs. e-cig explosions on airplanes: The Blumenthal double standard

Posted by Matt Rowland on

Senator Richard Blumenthal, one of the most consistently vocal opponents of the vaping industry, is once again calling for a ban on the transport of e-cigs on airplanes.  Meanwhile, the man is completely ignoring the recent surge in cell phone explosions.

Even though the Connecticut politician tried unsuccessfully last April to pass an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill that would prohibit vaping products on American flights, he is now pestering the major airlines themselves to implement similar regulations. 

Blumenthal blames e-cigs but not cell phones

Blumenthal seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that cell phone explosions on airplanes are occurring at an equally or greater rate compared to those of e-cigs.  After all, everyone has a cell phone. 

In the weeks before Christmas 2016, a Samsung Galaxy 6 caught fire onboard a China Airline flight while in midair.  The passenger holding the phone suffered minor injuries, and the flight attendants were able to snuff out the fire safely without injuring anyone else.

The incident made international headlines, even though Sen. Blumenthal remained rather mute on the subject.  Instead, he turned his immediate attention once again to e-cigs.

(Related Article:  BREAKING NEWS: SENATE CONSIDERS BAN OF E-CIGS IN CARRY-ON LUGGAGE)

Exploding cell phone batteries on airplanes is nothing new.  In September of 2016, a Samsung Note7 caught fire on a Delta Airlines flight from Norfolk, Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia 15 minutes after the flight’s departure.  While the incident resulted in smoldering smoke rather than a huge, burning flame, the incident still made the headlines.  And Blumenthal never issued a public reprimand against the entire cell phone industry after this incident either.

Lithium-ion batteries, the real culprit?

In the most recent cell phone explosions, the manufacturer is usually blamed for the incident rather than the entire industry. Even politicians like Richard Blumenthal know that it would be political suicide to call for an immediate ban on carrying cell phones on airplanes.   Yet Blumenthal isn’t skittish about making a blanket announcement time and time again that all e-cigs and vaping technology should be banned for the same non-related reasons.

(Related Article:  IS THE FDA TO BLAME FOR THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS E-CIG EXPLOSION?)

Politicians like Blumenthal are failing the American Public by implying that the devices themselves, be they e-cigs or cell phones, are to blame for the airline explosions when, in reality, it is the defective lithium-ion batteries that are the primary culprit.  In some cases, the passenger’s lack of proper battery handling and maintenance are a contributing factor.

As technology continues to advance at such a rapid pace, lithium-ion batteries are going to be used in more and more devices.  Since it is the batteries causing these terrible explosions on airplanes and not the e-cigs or cell phones or other technology, shouldn’t legislators like Sen. Blumenthal be focusing their political energies on regulating the lithium battery industry (many of which are manufactured overseas) instead of banning all handheld technology?  When it comes to e-cigs vs. cell phones explosions, is Sen. Blumenthal exhibiting some sort of mysterious double standard?

(Related Article:  SEN. BLUMENTHAL LATEST TO CALL FOR E-CIGS RECALL AFTER SURGE IN RECENT EXPLOSIONS)


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