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Experts warn against E-Cigarette dangers

http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/arizona-news/230569416-story

It’s being seen more often these days: e-cigarettes, or vape pens, is a growing trend among smokers, and a lot of teenagers are vaping as well.

However, experts have a warning about the smokeless alternative, saying there is a big danger that is associated with vape pens.

In burn centers across the country, officials say more and more people are getting hurt, when the devices explode.

“It’s like carrying an M-80 in your pocket,” said Dr. Kevin Foster from the Arizona Burn Center, describing E-Cigarettes that are being used by millions every day.

Foster said prior to 2016, they had no reports of burns related to E-Cigs, but last years, that changed dramatically with 50 separate cases, equaling to approximately one case per week where someone needed treatment for injuries related to exploding e-cigarettes.

Most of the burns are of the second degree, but in several cases, the injuries were much worse, with some needed surgery.

Besides burn injury, experts say those impacted also suffered traumatic injury from the explosion, and possibly chemical injuries from the chemicals inside the battery, considered by Foster to be the culprit. He said because many E-Cigarettes are manufactured overseas, it is hard to determine if these devices and the batteries are safe.

“It’s impossible to look at an E-Cigarette or vaping device, and try to determine if it’s a high quality or low quality,” said Foster.

The dangers mentioned above does not include other, more traditional health concerns associated with tobacco products. While those in the vaping industry argue their products actually control nicotine addiction, doctors at the Arizona Burn Center said they believe none of it is worth the gamble with such devices.

Youths More Likely to Combine E-cigarettes with Other Substances

Are youths more likely to combine e-cigarettes with other substances? A new study of Canadian high school students shows a correlation between e-cigarette use and other risky behaviors, including tobacco and marijuana smoking, binge drinking, and mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

http://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/youths-likely-combine-e-cigarettes-substances/

E-cigarette popularity has increased significantly amongst global youths since 2011. Recent data also shows a spike in e-cigarette use amongst high school students in Canada, with approximately 20% of students reporting having tried an e-cigarette. With vapor emerging as a supposedly healthier alternative to tobacco smoking, researchers and public health workers have voiced concerns regarding unknown long-term effects of e-cigarette vapor on individuals’ health, the risks of renormalizing smoking in popular culture, and the potential for e-cigarettes to become gateway substances. Evidence suggests that high school students may be more likely to combine e-cigarettes with other substances such as marijuana and alcohol, which pose health risks amongst youths.

A recent Journal of Adolescent Health (2016) review of year 3 (2014-2015) of the COMPASS study analyzed data from 39,837 Canadian high school students from Grade 9-12 to investigate the correlation between e-cigarette use and binge drinking, mixing energy drinks with alcohol, and smoking tobacco or marijuana. During the course of the COMPASS study, a student-level questionnaire, or Cq, was given to participants during class time in order to collect information regarding substance use within the last 30 days to 12 months. Any student who indicated that they had consistently used a substance within the last 30 days was classified as a current user (e.g. students who reported smoking cigarettes within 30 days prior to taking the questionnaire were categorized as current smokers).

Researchers retained all data for participants that provided full information on necessary variables for the study, such as age, ethnicity, and consistent responses regarding recent substance use. Using these criteria, 2323 respondents were excluded from this study. The remaining data was further divided into subgroups based on sex, ethnicity, and spending money, and placed within a logistic regression model to examine any potential associations between each student’s demographic and their substance use patterns.

Nearly 10% of participating students reported having used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. Comparatively, approximately 6% were current smokers, 15.97% were marijuana users, 13.69% consumed energy drinks mixed with alcohol, and 16.20% reported occasional binge drinking. While marijuana use was more common among male participants, occasional binge drinking was found to be more prevalent among females. Evidence also showed a higher likelihood of e-cigarette users to use other substances as well (28.66% of e-cigarette users were current tobacco smokers, 53.15% were current marijuana users, 20.09% were occasional binge drinkers, and 41.08% reported mixing alcohol and energy drinks). Researchers found that while the co-occurrence of binge drinking and marijuana use among current e-cigarette users seemed common, e-cigarette users who exclusively only smoked tobacco (and did not binge drink or smoke marijuana) was determined to be rare.

Both current smokers and male students with more spending money were found to be more likely to use e-cigarettes. Similarly, students who reported other health-risky behaviors, such as binge drinking and marijuana use, were more likely to use e-cigarettes than non-drinkers or non-smokers. This data on current e-cigarette use demonstrates a 35% increase amongst the youth of Ontario and Alberta from the previous year of COMPASS data. Furthermore, substance use appears to act as a strong indicator of future e-cigarette use relative to age, sex, ethnicity, and available funds.

As the results of this study have shown, health-risky behaviors appear to have a strong correlation with increased likelihood of e-cigarette use (although there is a lower prevalence of e-cigarette use as smokers increase in age). These findings are useful in terms of public health program planning, as further research may enable prevention efforts to target younger demographics within the youth population who are at a higher risk for e-cigarette or other substance use.

Vapers beware: 10 things to know about e-cigarettes

With catchy names like Smurf Cake and Unicorn Puke and sweet flavors like bubble gum and strawberry, electronic cigarettes may have special appeal to young people, but that doesn’t mean they are safe.

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/vapers-beware-ten-things-know-about-e-cigarettes

Evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes are exposing a new generation to nicotine addiction and may be leading users toward a cigarette habit. As a result, the U.S. surgeon general last month issued a report declaring youth e-cigarette use “a major public health concern.”

“All Americans need to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults,” said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in releasing the report. “Any tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, is a health threat, particularly to young people.”

The battery-powered devices heat a liquid typically containing nicotine mixed with the chemicals propylene glycol and glycerin as well as flavorings to deliver an aerosol inhaled by the user. While e-cigarettes deliver nicotine without the tar and smoke of traditional tobacco cigarettes, they still are considered tobacco products.

But their healthy halo has helped propel their popularity: E-cigarettes are now so popular that more American youth vape than smoke cigarettes. In just a decade, e-cigarettes have become a multibillion-dollar business led by multinational tobacco companies with outlets not just online but everywhere from vape shops to convenience stores and retail giants like Wal-Mart.

Ads tout them as a cool, harmless alternative to cigarettes. E-cigarette users, or vapers, have contests to see who can blow the largest cloud of vapor.

But there’s more to e-cigarettes than meets the eye. The surgeon general’s report aligns with increasing scrutiny of e-cigarettes, from new regulations to a growing body of research into health effects.

Here are 10 things to know about e-cigarettes:

E-cigarettes contain nicotine

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain, said UC San Francisco professor of medicine Stanton Glantz.

A lot of the kids who take up vaping are at low risk for smoking, but once they start using e-cigarettes, they are three to four times more likely to start using cigarettes, Glantz said.

“The biggest health concern with e-cigarettes is they are prolonging and expanding the tobacco industry,” Glantz said.

Glantz, director of UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said he was initially neutral on e-cigarettes, but now finds them concerning. Among other hazards, e-cigarettes produce ultrafine particles than can trigger inflammatory problems and lead to heart and lung disease.

“The data is just becoming overwhelming,” Glantz said.

E-cigarettes expose people to more than ‘harmless water vapor’

E-cigarettes are billed as producing “harmless water vapor,” but, strictly speaking, the vapor produced when users exhale is actually an aerosol that contains a mixture of nicotine, flavorings and other ingredients that can be toxic.

Stanford University pediatrics professor Bonnie Halpern-Felsher has studied young people’s perceptions of e-cigarettes. In September, she launched a free, downloadable youth tobacco prevention toolkit with an e-cigarette module, funded by the UC Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) and the California Department of Education.

“Youth are definitely using e-cigarettes because they think they are cool,” Halpern-Felsher said. “Adolescents and young adults don’t know a lot about e-cigarettes. They think it’s just water or water vapor. They don’t understand it’s an aerosol. They don’t understand that e-cigarettes can have nicotine. They don’t understand that flavorants themselves can be harmful.”

The flavors can be toxic

More than 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes are on the market.

UC Riverside professor of cell biology Prue Talbot screened the cytotoxicity (quality of being toxic to cells) of 36 refill fluids and found that some were highly toxic. The most cytotoxic flavor, Cinnamon Ceylon, contained a chemical called cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its flavor and whose side effects may include coughing and sore throats. Talbot has been studying more flavors and is building a database to help determine the most dangerous ones.

“Flavors are something that could be potentially regulated,” Talbot said.

Vaping has secondhand and thirdhand effects

Unlike cigarettes, which emit smoke from the lit end, e-cigarettes don’t produce sidestream emissions between puffs, but they still generate secondhand and thirdhand effects when users exhale the mainstream vapor.

In a TRDRP-funded study, Berkeley Lab researcher Hugo Destaillats led a team that found 31 chemicals that include several toxicants at significant levels in e-cigarette vapor. The most toxic chemicals included acrolein, a severe eye and respiratory irritant; and formaldehyde, an irritant and probable carcinogen.

Emissions varied by type of device and voltage.

“The way you heat the liquid drastically determines if you produce a lot of compounds or just a few,” Destaillats said. “As you increase the voltage, toxic byproduct concentrations increase exponentially.”

The batteries can explode

There were 134 reports of e-cigarette batteries overheating, catching fire or exploding between 2009 and January 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which will host a public workshop in April to gather information about e-cigarette battery safety concerns.

E-cigarette batteries “can explode without notice,” Talbot said. “People can be quite severely injured.”

E-liquids are poisonous if swallowed

Calls to poison control centers about e-cigarette exposure in young children have skyrocketed nationally in recent years. In California, the number of calls involving e-cigarettes increased from 19 in 2012 to 243 in 2014, according to the UC-administered California Poison Control System. More than 60 percent of those e-cigarette calls were related to nicotine poisoning in children 5 and under.

E-cigarettes show mixed results in helping smokers quit

While some people have quit smoking with e-cigarettes, on average, adult smokers who use e-cigarettes are about 30 percent less likely to stop smoking cigarettes, Glantz said. Also, e-cigarettes are associated with more, not less, cigarette smoking among adolescents.

“If you are a middle-aged person who has been smoking for 20 years, maybe it is good to switch to e-cigarettes,” Destaillats said. “But if you are a teenager and never have smoked, then it is not a good idea to use e-cigarettes.”

The minimum age has risen

In June, California became the nation’s second state, following Hawaii, to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21, and for the first time added e-cigarettes to the definition of tobacco products. In August, the FDA extended its tobacco oversight to e-cigarettes, banning sales to those under 18.

“It sends a message to youth that e-cigarettes are in the same category of all tobacco products,” Halpern-Felsher said.

E-cigarettes will be taxed

Under Proposition 56, the tobacco tax passed by California voters in November, the state will tax e-cigarettes for the first time, starting April 1. It’s estimated that the price of a typical 30-milliliter bottle of e-liquid could increase to about $30 from $20.

“Anytime you increase the price, people buy less,” Glantz said.

The tax revenue will enhance education efforts by boosting funding for the state Tobacco Control Program. The surgeon general’s report also will make it easier for states to integrate e-cigarettes into tobacco education campaigns and could lead to more regulations, Glantz said.

E-cigarettes may be safer than cigarettes, but unknown risks remain

Expect more information to emerge about e-cigarettes as studies examine long-term effects.

“It’s often assumed that e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, but that could be an incorrect assumption,” Talbot said. “We don’t yet know the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.”

Decades of research have helped scientists determine that cigarette smoke creates more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of which are known to cause cancer and many of which are poisonous.

So, while e-cigarettes deliver fewer cancer-causing chemicals than cigarettes, research has yet to reveal how e-cigarettes fully impact heart and lung health and their cancer-causing potential, Glantz said.

He estimates that e-cigarettes are about one-third to one-half as dangerous as cigarettes.

In other words, they are still plenty dangerous.

“Regular cigarettes are super unhealthy,” Destaillats said. “E-cigarettes are just unhealthy.”

There’s Nothing Sexy About An E-Cigarette Exploding In Your Face

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robwaters/2017/01/17/theres-not-much-sexy-about-an-e-cigarette-exploding-in-your-face/#2bab2377177e

Rob Waters ,

Contributor

I write about health, science and our crazy healthcare system.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

The last time I wrote about electronic cigarettes in this space, the post generated about as many comments as I’ve received from any piece (with the possible exception of the hate mail I got when I wrote about the need to permit federal funding for research looking at gun violence). The commenters called me a liar, an idiot and…well, you get the idea.

In that earlier post, I noted that e-cigarette marketers were peddling their products as cool and sexy. The ads are full of women with bare shoulders or in slinky blue satin who “smoke in style” (as an ad for blu e-cigarettes exclaims), while dangling their devices. Now, the continuing spate of news about e-cigs blowing up in the faces or pockets of users made me wonder what a new set of anti-e-cigarette commercials might look like. (Note to California Dept. of Public Health: there’s an idea for you here.)

E-cigarette devices have burst into flames in people’s pockets, blown up in their mouths or exploded while charging. Videos of them starting a fire from the pocket of a Fresno, California, bus rider or in a Leeds, England, market are now making the rounds on the Internet.

But this is no laughing matter.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration announced it is investigating the dangers of “battery-operated nicotine-delivery devices” as they clinically, but accurately, refer to e-cigarettes. The agency has documented 134 incidents of e-cigarette batteries overheating, exploding or catching fire.

The FDA will hold a two-day public workshop to discuss safety issues surrounding the batteries used in e-cigarettes on April 19 and April 20, 2017, that scientists and members of the public are invited to attend. Some wonder why it took so long.

Why e-cigs are not a safer alternative to cigarettes

Today’s guest blogger is Blair Thornley, PharmD, a certified specialist in poison information, at Poison Control Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/Why-e-cigs-are-not-a-safer-alternative-to-cigarettes.html

Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cig” use among teens has increased tremendously in the last two years, from approximately 780,000 in 2013 to more than 3 million students in 2015. Similarly, between 2011 and 2013, exposure to e-cigarette TV ads increased by 256 percent among 12 to 17- year-olds and by 321 percent among young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

Of those surveyed, 40 percent said that they used e-cigarettes because they tasted good; only 10 percent admitted to using them as a quitting aid for conventional cigarettes. These results seem to suggest that, not only are adolescents using e-cigarettes primarily for recreational purposes, but that their increase in popularity is due to the successful marketing techniques of e-cigarette manufacturers. Many of these efforts mimic the tactics that Big Tobacco used in the mid-1900s, and they’re working – again.

When you look at old tobacco ads next to newer, e-cigarette ads, the similarities are astounding. Until late this past summer, e-cigarettes were not considered tobacco products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so marketers did not have to adhere to the same standards and laws as the tobacco companies. They used celebrity spokespeople such as Jenny McCarthy and Courtney Love. Their ads portrayed rugged men and glamorous women sending the message that using e-cigarettes is masculine, sexy, or rebellious. They knew that sex sells, and therefore portrayed their products as something that will make the user more attractive to the opposite sex. Some e-cigarette companies even sponsored sporting events and music festivals because they knew it would help them reach large audiences, including young children and teens.

Many e-liquids come in sweet flavors, with names that are appealing to younger audiences, such as “I love donuts” or “Mama’s cookies”. They also used cartoons, reminiscent of Joe Camel, who successfully marketed cigarettes to kids in the 1990s. Still other ads send the message that they’re healthier than regular cigarettes by encouraging people to “switch, don’t quit”. With all of these tactics, it’s little wonder why e-cigarette use among youth is on the rise.

Another important factor fueling the rise in e-cigarette use is the commonly held belief among young people that they are less harmful than tobacco products. Some teens are unaware that the e-liquids they’re using contain nicotine, and nearly 20 percent of young people believe that they cause no harm at all! The majority of teens are using them out of sheer curiosity, they think it tastes good, and it’s a fun thing to do with their friends. They don’t realize that many of these products contain nicotine, which can lead to a powerful, life-long addiction, as well as a permanent lowering of impulse control among teens.

There is also evidence that the aerosol vapors from the e-cigarette are not as harmless as initially believed. Flavoring is added with a chemical known as diacetyl, which has been linked to serious lung disease. E-liquids may also contain heavy metals, such as nickel, lead or tin. Another risk that has been making headlines recently is the e-cigarette batteries that have exploded in users’ pockets, resulting in serious injuries. Because this trend is so new, scientists are still working to understand the long-term health effects, but all the preliminary evidence seems to indicate that e-cigarettes are no safer than conventional cigarettes, and should not be used recreationally.

With all of this new information, it’s important to establish an open dialogue with your teens and young adults, and make sure they’re aware of the risks associated with e-cigarettes. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to protect your children. If you have any questions about e-cigarettes, you can feel free to call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222, where a pharmacist or nurse is on staff 24 hours a day to answer your call.

Mom’s E-Cig Liquid Almost Kills Girl, 6

Dad accidentally gave daughter liquid nicotine that was in ibuprofen bottle

http://www.newser.com/story/236464/girl-drinks-moms-liquid-nicotine-from-ibuprofen-bottle.html

When a 6-year-old girl in Oregon sprained her ankle, her father reached for their liquid child ibuprofen bottle and gave his daughter a 10ml dose. She lost consciousness almost immediately and her limbs began to jerk, so he took a tiny sip and realized it was liquid nicotine for his wife’s e-cigarette; she had used the empty container to mix her own e-liquid, reports Health Day. The father called poison control and 911, and the girl barely survived a harrowing night in the emergency room and intensive care unit, where she was treated for acute nicotine poisoning and placed on a ventilator, the doctors report in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The case study comes on the heels of the surgeon general calling e-cigarettes “a major public health concern,” researchers write in a press release. “As electronic cigarette use proliferates, children are now increasingly at risk of toxicity from ingestions of much larger quantities of nicotine from highly concentrated refill liquid,” one toxicologist says. The girl had ingested 700 milligrams of liquid nicotine, higher than the 500mg threshold that can kill an adult, and her blood nicotine level was 348 nanograms per milliliter, far higher than the 12 to 54 ng/ml found after an adult smokes one regular cigarette, reports Live Science. The doctor says that “slightly different circumstances” would have easily led to “a tragic outcome.” (Many victims of e-liquid poisoning are younger than 4.)

EXPLODING E-CIGARETTE BATTERIES

http://atlanticcity.legalexaminer.com/uncategorized/exploding-e-cigarette-batteries/

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. The agency announced a two-day public meeting for April. The Associated Press reported last month that 66 explosions were identified by the FDA in 2015 and early 2016.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices made to mimic traditional cigarettes. They are often shaped like cigarettes or pipes, and work by heating a nicotine mixture called “e-liquid,” “e-juice,” or “vape juice.” E-cigarettes are now a $7 billion global industry made up of roughly 500 brands. However, due to a rash of e-cigarette explosions caused by volatile lithium-ion batteries, many consumers are now filing lawsuits against e-cigarette companies, seeking relief for physical, emotional and financial injuries. Dozens of lawsuits allege serious injuries caused by exploding batteries.

The most common injuries suffered by vapers are lung-related but e-cigarettes are exploding with greater and greater frequency and many vapers have suffered burns, scars, and even amputated fingers. Four New Jersey residents, including two teenagers, who suffered third-degree burns when their e-cigarette batteries ignited are suing the shops that sold the “defective” devices. In October 2015, a California jury awarded Jennifer Ries US$1.9 million after Ms. Ries suffered second degree burns from an exploding e-cig battery.

The manufacturers of the lithium ion batteries that power the vaping devices are also the targets of the litigation although the attorneys acknowledged it would be tougher to hold them accountable. The batteries are made in China.

The safety of E-cigarettes 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.

FDA probes dangers of exploding e-cigarette batteries

http://phys.org/news/2017-01-fda-probes-dangers-e-cigarette-batteries.html

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 injured users.

The agency announced a two-day public meeting for April, according to an online posting.

The Associated Press reported last month that 66 explosions were identified by the FDA in 2015 and early 2016.

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.

Teens are vaping more than ever, and not just nicotine

The latest report from the CDC digs into teens’ relationship with ecigarettes

Vaping is more popular with teens than ever, with more than one-third of high school students reporting having tried e-cigarettes. And teens aren’t always using e-cigs for nicotine, according to a new US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that dug into teen vaping behavior.

To evaluate e-cig use, the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration poured through surveys filled out by 17,000 middle and high school students across the US in 2015. About 38 percent of high school students and 13 percent of middle school students reported that they’ve tried e-cigarettes.

That could be an underestimate, too, since the students were reporting their own behavior, and surveys based on self-reports are known to be unreliable.

The CDC is interested in vaping is because we still don’t know exactly how using e-cigarettes could affect a teen’s development. A medical group in the UK lauded e-cigs as useful tools to help current smokers quit, but the CDC said in a statement there’s no evidence that they work. What’s more, e-cig use during adolescence could kickstart an addiction, and the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warns that nicotine in any form is unsafe for teenagers. Still, more than 3 million teens used e-cigs in 2015, a tenfold increase over four years that Murthy called a public health crisis. But to stop it, the CDC has to understand it better.

In today’s report, one-third of e-cigarette users reported using their devices for something other than nicotine. This was more common for male white and Hispanic students than non-Hispanic black students. The survey didn’t get into what exactly the students were using their vape pens for, if not nicotine. But other studies point to pot as the most likely substance.

More than half of the e-cig users stuck to reusable electronic cigarettes — the ones you can refill with new liquid nicotine cartridges — as opposed to the disposable kind.

Although most of the students didn’t know what brand they were using, the ones who did used blu and VUSE most frequently.

Both of these brands are owned by big tobacco companies, and are among the most heavily advertised. Millions of teens are exposed to ads for ecigarettes online and in stores. These ads take a leaf out of big-tobacco’s book, promising independence and sex appeal to manipulate people into buying. And they work: more exposure to e-cig advertisements corresponds with more e-cig use in young adults, according to previous CDC research.

The CDC has repeatedly called for restricting e-cig marketing, but they have no control over advertisements. But regulation of the devices is growing; just this year, the FDA ruled that e-cigarettes and vape pens fall under the regulatory umbrella of tobacco products, which means the agency can ban sales to people under 18. We’ll see if the numbers of teenage users drop when the CDC analyzes the data from 2016.

E-cigarettes ‘ticking time bombs’ for unsuspecting users

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http://www.thv11.com/news/traveling-for-the-holidays-you-could-be-next-to-an-e-cig-ticking-time-bomb/377190709

As you get ready to travel for the holidays, you could be sitting next to a ticking time bomb. That’s the warning from one senator after an e-cigarette exploded in a man’s pocket on a bus.

AAA tells 10News that more than 103 million Americans — the most on record —are expected to travel for the holidays.

E-cigarettes are exploding on planes, buses and in stores. New York senator Charles Schumer is putting the heat on the feds to consider recalling exploding batteries and devices.

“It’s terrifying to see people hurting themselves and blowing up. There are a lot of videos out there,” said Adam Wooddy, owner of Satyr Vapor in Fresno, California.

That’s for sure. This viral video shows a Fresno bus driver warning a passenger about using his e-cigarette. The man puts it away; seconds later sparks and flames fly from his pants pocket. Investigators say the e-cig’s battery is likely the source of the blast.

The e-cig fires are happening at 30,000 feet, too. Last week, American Airlines Flight 1129 from Dallas to Indianapolis had to divert to Little Rock, Arkansas, after an e-cig caught fire in a passenger’s carry-on bag.

“I hope this sets an example for people to not take e-cigarettes on board,” said passenger Susan Karimi.

The FAA has banned the devices in checked baggage, but they can still be carried onboard. They cannot be charged while on board.

A New York liquor store worker is still recovering from serious burns after smoke and fire shot from his pocket at coworkers a few weeks ago.

“This e-cigarette didn’t just explode, it exploded a number of times,” said victim Otis Gooding’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein. “Clearly, government authorities need to intervene, with regard to the sales of these e-cigarettes, so that what happened to this victim won’t happen to anybody else.”

The Federal Drug Administration ties e-cigarettes to 66 explosions last year into early 2016. Many are linked to the lithium ion battery. Overcharging, manufacturing defects and punctures can cause it to overheat, sometimes triggering a fiery reaction.

“These batteries are fragile. They have a wrap on the outside that needs to stay intact. If that battery gets torn and starts to touch metal, something like loose change in your pocket or something like that, it can definitely short out the battery,” said Wooddy.

Senator Schumer wants the Consumer Product Safety Commission and FDA to uncover exactly why the devices are exploding, be it a design problem, battery problem or operator error.

“E-cigarettes have become ticking time bombs, and we’re here today to disarm them before they injure more unsuspecting people,” said Schumer.

Experts suggest e-cig users should buy American, since 90 percent of the products come from China with fewer regulations, and buy a reputable domestic brand. Users are urged to read the instructions; don’t hold down the button too long, use the correct charger and don’t charge it too long to help prevent the device from going up in flames.

The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association points out that millions of people use the devices with only a few accidents. TVECA does support responsible regulation saying, “When you don’t have oversight, companies who want to make a quick buck buy batteries and equipment that aren’t up to snuff.”