New FDA Study on Battery-Related Injuries from Vaping

The results probably won’t surprise you, but they should remind us all to be careful with batteries.

When vaping fires and burns make the news, the image of vaping as a safer alternative to smoking is damaged. Sure, we know that most battery events are caused by user error, but it’s tough to explain that to people who already believe vaping is a risky practice.

Now a study from the FDA Center for Tobacco Products offers some insight into the number and causes of vaping burn injuries. The research was conducted by CTP employees, and published in the journal Injury Epidemiology.

The results may not surprise vapers, but public health opponents of vaping might have their eyes opened a bit. The common belief is that vape mods are poorly constructed, or have defective wiring. Politicians sometimes demand recalls. But you can’t recall user error.

The bottom line here is that most vaping burns can be easily avoided with a little battery safety education.

The FDA researchers analyzed 2016 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is part of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). NEISS collects injury data from a representative sample of hospitals, and then creates a nationwide injury estimate based on the sample.

The number of vaping-related battery burns that led to NEISS-reported emergency room visits in 2016 was 26. That translates to a nationwide estimate of 1,007 burns. The hospital reports include a brief description of the incident that led to the injury, and identify the product associated with the injury.

The authors correctly point out that there are probably many more injuries that don’t require a hospital visit, and that makes sense. Most vaping injuries are not severe, and can be treated by the injured person themselves, or by a family doctor. But there may have been some severe burns that were treated at specialty burn centers. Those would have been missed in this study.




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