WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is probing the dangers of exploding batteries in e-cigarettes, following dozens of reports of devices that have combusted, overheated or caught fire and sometimes injuring user including a Fresno man last month.
The agency announced a two-day public meeting for April, according to an online posting.
The Associated Press reported in December that 66 explosions were identified by the FDA in 2015 and early 2016.
Last month, a Fresno man was taken to the hospital after being burned when his e-cigarette exploded as he rode a city bus. The 53-year-old man said he had an electronic battery powered vape device in his pants pocket that became hot and then burst into flames.
There were reports that indicated the man might have been trying to use the e-cigarette on the bus before putting it in his pocket.
In surveillance video from the bus, the man is seen sitting and talking with another passenger across the aisle when the e-cig starts hissing as it emits smoke.
The man begins to yell as the e-cigarette produces flames before it appears to explode in his pocket. Once the flames cease, the man runs off camera, apparently asking for help from the driver.
The man was treated for burns to his right thigh and hand.
E-cigarettes are hand-held devices that vaporize liquid nicotine. Their safety has not been extensively studied and there’s no scientific consensus on whether they help reduce rates of cigarette smoking.
Last year the FDA announced it would begin to regulate the fast-growing industry, requiring makers of e-cigarettes to submit their devices and ingredients for review for the first time.