Is the U.S. Navy developing a ‘secret weapon’ that will save vaping?

Three years ago in July of 2014, the U.S. Navy was so excited about the new vaping trend that officials immediately began designating special areas on their ships to encourage sailors to vape rather than smoke. After a surge in vaping-related explosions began to hit mainstream media, Naval Commanders decided last week to implement a temporary vaping ban effective May 14, 2017 – just ten days from now. 

Between October 2015 and April 2016, military officials are reporting a total of 31 incidents involving injuries to sailors from exploding lithium-ion batteries.  Many of the injuries occurred onboard naval ships, and at least two required the use of fire extinguishers.   According to the Navy Times, commanders want to resolve these safety concerns once and for all.

“The new rule suspends the use, possession, storage, and charging of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems aboard ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment.”
“The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units.”  

“This new policy is in response to continued reports of explosions of [electronic nicotine delivery devices] due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries.  Multiple sailors have suffered serious injuries from these devices, to include first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement.”
“The Navy calls the ban a ‘suspension’ while officials review safety concerns.”


Just days before the announcement of the impending vaping “suspension,” a group of scientists from the University of Buffalo released an e-cig study focusing strictly on military vapers.  The team led by Dr. Lynn T. Kozlowski, a Professor of Public Health, surveyed some 300+ soldiers and their families serving in the U.S. Army and National Guard.  The researchers discovered that the predominating opinion among military vapers is that vaping is “more satisfying and less dangerous than cigarettes.”

The study is published in the medical journal Preventative Medicine Reports.  And it is this sort of research that may be leading the U.S. Navy to take matters into their own hands.  According to a report published last week in Popular Science, “The U.S. Navy is designing safer batteries, because no one wants a fire at sea.”

The U.S. Navy and their ‘secret weapon‘

The vaping community has been arguing for several years that vaping is 95 percent safer and healthier than smoking.  And there are reams of scientific data to support this claim, including an e-cig study published by the UK Royal College of Physicians last year.   But e-cig explosions are getting a great deal of bad press, which has contributed to a vastly negative public perception of the entire industry. 

While vaping advocates often attempt to explain away these vaping-related “explosions” as poor battery construction or unsafe vaping practices, they have been largely unsuccessful.  Luckily, the U.S. Navy is taking a more common sense approach.  Instead of waiting for someone to build a better battery, the Navy is going to do it themselves.

“Chemists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have announced a new battery technology that they say is both safe and rechargeable, and could make its way into electric vehicles, bikes, or ships.”
“Lithium-ion batteries are problematic because of the organic liquid inside of them, which is flammable if the battery or device gets too hot. A standard alkaline battery, like the AAA in a flashlight, has a much safer water-based electrolyte, which is not flammable. Those alkaline batteries commonly use zinc as a material in one of the electrodes.”
“The US Naval Research Lab is partnering with a company called EnZinc to put rechargeable batteries with their zinc anode into vehicles like e-bikes.”
(Excerpts from the Popular Science article)

Lithium-ion batteries are used in all sort of devices, and they are often at risk of exploding regardless of their being used in vaping technology or a Samsung smartphone, for example.  But if the Navy has their way, a new, safe, and rechargeable lithium battery is on the horizon.  And maybe, just maybe, it will end up in the vape mods of their soldiers, as well.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published