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U.S. Navy considers new stance on vaping

In July 2014, the U.S. Navy was so enthusiastic about the new vaping trend that top officials immediately began creating special vaping areas on certain military ships to encourage soldiers to quit smoking conventional cigarettes.  In fact, the U.S.S. George Washington became the very first aircraft carrier in history to offer a special deck strictly for vapers.  But all of that might be about to change after a string of incidents has prompted several Naval Safety Officers to consider putting the kibosh on vaping fleetwide.

Will the U.S. Navy implement a vaping ban?

At first, the Navy was enjoying a long list of rather positive, yet unexpected, additional benefits from their vaping decision.  The cleaner, ash-free decks were one positive side effect that both smokers and non-smokers seemed to appreciate.  And having a specially designated area for vaping led to an increased sense of camaraderie among the military vaping community.  Many veteran vapers were even encouraging current smokers to transition to vaping as well.  But a new memo issued by the Naval Safety Center on August 11 indicates a growing concern over exploding batteries. 

"The Naval Safety Center concludes that these devices pose a significant and unacceptable risk to Navy personnel, facilities, submarines, ships, vessels and aircraft…Leadership is reviewing the Naval Safety Center's recommendation regarding e-cigarettes, weighing both the safety and health-related risks,” states Navy spokeswoman Lt. Marycate Walsh.   

The memo goes on to discuss the possible dangers of lithium-ion batteries overheating on board and inadvertently causing a massive explosion.  With all of that weaponry always around at any given moment, this is a real cause for concern, not only for the individual soldier, but also for the entire crew.  After all, if an e-cig or 18650 battery were to explode next to a Mark 82 Bomb at the wrong place and time, who knows what could happen?  Someone might accidentally start World War III.

But the U.S. Navy isn’t making an official change just yet.  The memo states that they are simply considering the matter…for the moment.  It also notes that lithium-ion batteries are regularly used in laptops and cellphones without incident, which leads them to wonder why vape batteries are so prone to detonate when they are defective or mishandled.  Who knows?  Maybe the U.S. Navy will finally identify a new way to make lithium batteries that is nearly 100% foolproof from explosions.  Stranger things have happened.


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