Flight Attendants Union Asks FAA To Ban E-Cigarettes On Airplanes
At least 265 incidents in the air or at airports have involved lithium-ion batteries since 1991, according to the FAA.
Out of those 265, a minimum of 48 smoke or fire incidents were from lithium batteries in e-cigarettes, which is more than the number caused by cell phones, laptops, battery chargers, tablets or spare batteries.
The vaping devices often contain cheaper batteries that are more likely to fail and start a fire, and the nation's largest flight attendant union is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to ban all e-cigarettes from airplanes, according to CBS News.
"A lithium-ion battery fire on a plane can be catastrophic," Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told CBS.
Flight attendants have turned into de facto firefighters, and this means the FAA needs to do more, she said.
Even though flight attendants are trained to take care of fires by placing flaming devices in special fire-resistant bags, Nelson said it would be better if they didn't have to manage those situations at all.
"How about we just not have these e-cigarettes on the plane at all?"
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Mark Millam of the Flight Safety Foundation told CBS that a ban requires more information.
"A ban could happen when there is the right information that's understood about it," he said.
The FAA responded that it has “clear regulations” on the safe transport of lithium-ion batteries, and said vape pens, e-cigarettes and spare batteries must be put in carry-on bags.
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