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Electronic nicotine delivery systems: overheating, fires and explosions


Background Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS)-associated overheating, fire or explosion (OH/F/EXP) events have occurred since at least 2009.

Objective To identify the number and nature of ENDS OH/F/EXP events in the USA.

Methods Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) scientists searched for event reports among five US federal agencies, scientific literature and media outlets.

Findings 100 reference sources identified 92 OH/F/EXP events in the USA, of which 45 (49%) injured 47 people, and 67 (73%) involved property damage beyond the product. Events were identified in media outlets (n=50; 54%) and reported to four agencies (n=42; 46%). The report rate peaked at an average of six reports per month in late 2013 with a smaller peak of three to four reports per month in the second quarter of 2015. All reports were incomplete and events exhibited variability. International events in three countries are mentioned, and international responses to events are summarised.

Conclusions The scope, causes and trajectory of ENDS OH/F/EXP events remain incompletely defined. Some events have resulted in life-threatening injury, permanent disfigurement or disability, and major property damage, suggesting the need for ongoing surveillance and risk mitigation. More comprehensive reporting could assist future analyses and may help to identify root causes and contributors to the OH/F/EXP events.

  • Electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • Surveillance and monitoring
  • Media

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