A small fire in a passengers suitcase boarding an aeroplane in Boston has sparked a new argument for whether e cigarettes should be banned completely on aeroplanes. The fire was spotted by a Boston baggage handler after he could smell smoke coming from one of the bags. On closer inspection he discovered one of the bags was smouldering and this was later put down to an e cigarette. All the passengers from a JetBlue airways flight which was ready for a takeoff at the Logan International Airport, Boston Massachusetts this month were requested to leave the aircraft when the baggage handling authorities suspected a bag of emitting smoke.
Ed Freni, the director of aviation with the Massachusetts Port Authority reported that an electronic cigarette device charred a hole in the checked baggage of a passenger. This caused panic and the aircraft was evacuated immediately. Hence, Logan International airport authorities are now requesting that U.S aviation officials grade and label electronic cigarettes as hazardous items. Freni also told the associated press that if the aircraft had taken off that day it could have ended up in a terrifying experience for its passengers. However, the U.S transportation department announcer told that the concerned agency has not levied any restrictive conditions on electronic cigarettes and the Massachusetts fire service department said that the actual cause of the fire has not yet been fully investigated and resolved.
Unfortunately baggage handlers smelt smoke and spotted a smouldering bag when the flight was about to take-off and as the current rules and regulations state, e cigarettes fall under the category of personal electronic devices. This clearly indicates that they can be taken on board just like your laptop or mobile phones or any other battery operated devices. Generally electronic cigarettes pose no risk at all. However the batteries incorporated in electronic cigarettes have yet to be safeguarded against any accidental flare up.
Passengers are not allowed to carry any spare lithium-ion batteries in their checked in baggage as these types of batteries have been associated with plane crashes or fire accidents in planes in the past. However there have been fewer cases of fires being triggered or caused by electronic cigarettes.
In the year 2009 there was an incident of a fire reported on account of a consignment of electronic cigarettes in an aeroplane at St.Pauls airport in Minnesota. Cynthia Cabrera the executive director of the Smoke-free Alternatives Trade Association informed the press that tighter security measures will be initiated to ensure absolute fire safety, if investigation reports conclude that an e cigarette was indeed the cause for fire in Boston this month.
We all want to be safe when we travel on aeroplanes, especially in light of the recent disasters that have happened in the aviation industry. Maybe we do need more stringent tests on e cigarette batteries. For now it is another point in favour of the camp that are against e cigarettes, but being a new industry it is going to take some time to iron out all of the parts that go into a working device.
Could it have simply been that the battery was turned on and what they saw was Vapour? which is still dangerous lets face it. We have thousands in our factory, and we have been storing them for 3 years without incident, they’re very safe, but lets not get complacent, it’s our responsibility to keep other people safe, and allow other people freedom to travel with their e-cigs without restrictions.
So come on guys & gals lets do ourselves a big favour and make sure to atleast turn off our batteries, and keep them on your person at all times whilst travelling… whether it be planes, trains or automobiles.
Author: Kevin Ewbank
Avid vaper & co-founder of SmokShop