LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Concerns over vaping continue to spark change nationwide. So far, 24 people have died from lung illnesses tied to e-cigarettes, while more than 1,000 have been sickened.
But the devices pose another danger, but this time there are concerns over e-cigarettes when it comes to air travel. The president of the largest flight attendant union wants the FAA to ban the products from planes because their batteries could be a fire hazard.
Batteries in e-cigarettes have caused a number of fires, including one in the TSA line at Charleston, West Virginia’s Airport. There was also a fire in Savannah, Georgia, but a quick-thinking TSA officer removed the smoking bag from security. It was discovered that the battery in the vape pen caused the fire.
Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, says flight attendants have become firefighters on planes, and the FAA needs to do more.
“How bout we just not have these e-cigarettes on a plane at all,” Nelson said.
Mark Millam, with the Flight Safety Foundation, says while batteries from e-cigarettes are a great concern on planes, and more information is needed before an outright ban makes sense.
“A ban could happen when there is the right information that’s understood about it,” said Millam.
The FAA says it has “clear regulations” on the safe transport of lithium-ion batteries. E-cigarettes, vape pens, and spare batteries must be transported in carry-on bags,
Flight attendants are trained to handle battery fires. Many planes have fire-resistant bags that can hold a smoldering or flaming device.