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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.

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

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.)


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

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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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.”

Vaping horror: 4 in NJ say they were badly burned by exploding e-cigs

Greg Burdash, a married father of two living in the Camden County borough of Berlin, said he gave vaping a chance in order to quit smoking cigarettes and save his health.

But on Sept. 29, during a break at work, the e-cig battery he had in his pocket exploded. Burdash was rushed to the hospital suffering from debilitating third-degree burns over 20 percent of his body.

“I was in complete shock,” he said Thursday during a news conference in Princeton. “I heard a hissing sound, and then the explosion and then the pain. I looked down and my leg was on fire and I started running.”

“I have had incredible pain since then. I’ve not been able to return to work. It not only hurts you financially, it hurts you mentally and physically, I still have bleeding, and my doctor has told me nerve damage is expected to be permanent.”

Burdash said he was speaking out because “I want people to be aware of the dangers of vaping and how harmful this can be and I don’t anyone to suffer the way I have.”

Burdash is one of four recent plaintiffs in New Jersey filing lawsuits against the retailers that sold them the e-cigs that they say left them with serious injuries.

The two underage and two adult plaintiffs are represented by the Lawrenceville firm Stark & Stark, which has partnered with Bentley & More, a California firm that has litigated e-cig complaints across the nation.

“These and other cases involve horrific injuries suffered by wonderful people who were simply using a product the way it was intended to be used,” said attorney Greg Bentley.

He said people are being injured just about every day by defective e-cigarette lithium ion batteries.

“They are just randomly exploding in people’s faces. Batteries in people’s pockets causing significant life changing injuries,” he said.

E-cigs or electronic vaporizers are an alternative to tobacco smoking. They emit a vapor that is said to be less harmful than smoking tobacco products. Users can choose to vape liquid cartridges containing nicotine, which can help some users end their cigarette addictions.

The e-cig industry insists their products are safe.

Bentley claims the problem is 90 percent of e-cigarette products are manufactured in China, and the companies making them understand it’s almost impossible to hold them responsible for the defective lithium ion batteries that are in the e-cigs.

“It’s an industry that’s literally exploding, both in dollar numbers, in consumers that are using it, and in the products that are exploding randomly,” he said.

He noted more than 31 million American adults have tried e-cigarettes, and 9 million are regular users. Last year Forbes estimated the e-cigarette industry was worth $3.7 billion, and it continues to increase.

Bentley claims the e-cig industry is targeting teenagers, offering e-cig liquids with fruity flavors and silly names.

“Studies show 16 percent of high school students have used an e-cig product,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration this year banned sales of e-cigs to minors.

“We know the problem is going to continue unless this industry checks itself and makes sure the product is safe,” Bentley said.

The FDA this year implemented new rules to regulate the industry, forcing manufacturers to seek government approval for the liquid nicotine products that they sell.

But the lawsuits are putting the spotlight on the safety of the hardware.

Bentley says that the lithium ion batteries used in e-cigarettes are flammable and combustible, and they can explode if they’re defective.

He said based on the 100 cases they’re handling so far, e-cig battery explosions are random and unpredictable.

One underage victim in New Jersey had an e-cig explode in her mouth in May. The explosion caused her to lose four teeth and suffer severe face and mouth burns as well as corneal abrasions that have damaged her vision, lawyers said.

William Grant was hospitalized twice after a March 2015 accident with an e-cig device. The incident left him with third-degree burns to his leg, requiring skin grafts to his right foot, lawyers said.

Another New Jersey teen suffered second-degree burns to his chest and upper arm and minor burns on his left arm, chest and neck, his lawyers said.

Bentley stressed “no one has exact jurisdiction over this industry so no one really knows how many of these e-cig explosions have taken place.”

He described the e-cig industry as “staying under the radar, hoping people won’t notice what’s going on. So by filing these lawsuits, our goal is to bring attention to the problem, to let the industry know they need to do something about these defective, dangerous products so consumers can use them in their intended fashion.”

He pointed out the vaping industry has so far resisted regulatory control efforts. Bentley added e-cig products are still being sold without any type of warning or notice.

“How many more people are going to have this product explode, causing significant injuries, until the industry says enough is enough? We’re going to warn about it. We are going to continue to push, fight and seek full compensation, holding everybody in the supply chain accountable. We will be looking toward the retail stores, because they sold the product that’s defective, they’re responsible for the harm that’s caused.”

Contact reporter David Matthau at

Vapers experimenting with illegal drugs bought on the dark web

MILLIONS of people worldwide use e-cigarettes or vaping equipment instead of smoking tobacco. But nicotine isn’t the only drug people are vaping.

Some vapers are experimenting with recreational drugs, mixing them into the e-liquid that goes into vapes and sharing their experiences online. This, along with advances in vaping technology, has led to an increase in drug-based e-liquids advertised for sale on dark web marketplaces.

Cannabis is a common choice but vendors on dark web marketplace Alphabay also sell e-liquid containing cocaine, morphine, MDMA (ecstasy) and temazepam, a drug sometimes prescribed for insomnia. There are even listings for fentanyl, a potent opiate responsible for thousands of fatal overdoses in recent years.

Michelle Peace at Virginia Commonwealth University is leading a project that examines drug use and abuse involving vaping, with a view to educating the public and providing information to law enforcement, medical examiners and forensic scientists. Her team is investigating which substances these e-liquids contain and whether they can be vaporised. The project is supported by grants from the US National Institute of Justice.

“The users believe they are experiencing better drug delivery,” says Peace. “Part of our work has been to understand why they think that is the case.”

Peace and her colleagues tested e-liquids containing everything from legal substances such as nicotine, vitamins and caffeine to illicit drugs, including cannabis, heroin and methamphetamine. They used mass spectrometry to see what is actually contained in e-liquids available for sale on the dark web. For instance, they have found synthetic cannabinoids in some liquids that weren’t labelled as containing any drug other than nicotine but were suspiciously expensive.

“Vaping e-liquids that contain drugs could make already dangerous drugs even more dangerous”

They also tested how effectively different drugs vaporise. To do this, they used a machine that “inhales” the e-liquid and then analyses which chemicals are present in the vapour.

The researchers haven’t yet published their results, but Peace says it seems that many drugs can be vaporised. Tests with methamphetamine, for example, showed the drug was present in the vapour.

Vaping recreational drugs poses public health concerns. As drug delivery via the lungs is generally more effective than some other methods, says Peace, vaping could make “already dangerous drugs even more dangerous”.

There are other risks, too. The lungs are a sensitive organ and drugs or other constituents of these e-liquids could cause inflammation, says John Britton at the University of Nottingham, UK.

But vaping could also have legitimate medical applications. “If the pharmaceutical industry can figure how to control dosing, it may be an effective tool to deliver therapeutic pharmaceuticals in the future,” says Peace.

Forget the FDA: Electronic Cigarettes Face an Even More Hazardous Risk

As if the FDA’s new “deeming regulations Opens a New Window. ” weren’t going to cause enough damage to the electronic-cigarette industry, there’s apparently a new risk associated with the smoking alternative that could burn their manufacturers. According to reports, e-cigs seem to have a penchant for exploding, causing burns and injuries to their users.

E-cigs have been on fire

Electronic cigarettes have enjoyed explosive growth. Since 2012, the Tobacco Merchants Association says sales quadrupled to $2 billion in 2015,and Wells Fargo expects them to hit $4 billion this year. Yet the industry could be in for a substantial decline.

The new regulations treat e-cigs and vapor products just the same as combustible cigarettes, even though they contain no tobacco. Most devices are powered by a battery that heats a liquid nicotine solution to create a vapor, not smoke, that is then inhaled. Tobacco itself isn’t burned, and that’s where the vast majority of toxic chemicals associated with smoking are created.

Even with the next generation of e-cigs being developed that do use tobacco, it’s only being used for flavor. Both the Marlboro-Brand Heat Sticks from Philip Morris International(NYSE: PM)and British American Tobacco’s (NYSEMKT: BTI) new iFuse heat up a liquid to create a vapor, which is then drawn through real tobacco Opens a New Window. to give it the taste smokers have been looking for.

A heavy burden on the industry

All of the above is of no consequence to the FDA, which treats e-cigs just like regular cigarettes anyway.The regulations will be so onerous and costly, that it’s expected only the largest tobacco companies will be able to comply. Even by the agency’s own estimates, it will cost e-cig manufacturers several hundred thousands of dollars per product and take 5,000 hours to comply. Third-party estimates, however, put the cost closer to $3 million to $20 million per product.

Additionally e-cig makers have to register with the FDA, after which the regulatory agency will begin a two-year review of their products and determine those that will be allowed to survive and which ones will be banned. Vape store owners expect that within two years, the industry will be destroyed.

While there was a rush by manufacturers to get new products onto the market before the changes went into effect, it’s still expected that whatever growth the industry might have enjoyed will eventually be wiped out by strict regulations.

A burning question on safety

But the industry has a more immediate problem to contend with. It appears the lithium-ion batteries used to power these devices have the potential to explode.

Earlier this year there was a spate of news stories reporting incidents of e-cig users who were injured by exploding batteries. Although the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association admits such incidents can happen, it maintains their occurrence is rare and preventable: Only use the chargers that come with the device, and don’t put them in your pocket, since coins can cause short-circuiting.

It’s a well-documented phenomenon that other devices such as laptops and cellphones that use lithium-ion batteries to power them are also susceptible to fire and explosions. Most U.S. airlines ended up banning the batteries as cargo on passenger flights because of the risks associated with them, and the U.S. Postal Service banned hover boards from being shipped by airplane because their batteries reportedly overheated and caused fires.

Most recently, Samsung just stopped production on and recalled every single Galaxy Note 7 smartphone manufactured — some 1 million total — because of numerous reports they caught fire while charging.

“Flaming rocket” behavior

Electronic cigarettes, however, may have a greater propensity for combustibility. The U.S. Fire Administration says the shape and design of electronic cigarettes “make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like ‘flaming rockets’ when a battery fails.”

The culprit seems to be the lithium-ion batteries that can overheat, catch fire, or even explode, resulting in injury or death. Image source: Getty Images.

And because of their prevalence, such incidents are happening more frequently. Between October 2015 and June 2016, the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle treated 15 patients for injuries from exploding e-cigarettes. In comparison, during the five-year period between 2009 and 2014, it treated just 25 such injuries.

According to a comprehensive list Opens a New Window. of incidents compiled by industry site eCig One, there have been at least 193 explosions reported since 2009, of which 121, or 62%,have resulted in injury or death.

While that still means e-cig explosions remain few and far between — considering the millions of people using them on a daily basis, the relative handful of incidents is small — it’s a problem the industry doesn’t need.

A social pariah

Electronic cigarettes and personal vaping devices are increasingly being treated like cigarettes in social settings, with users being banned from vaping in public places just like tobacco users, or relegated to segregated areas. And not just in the U.S., but in Europe and Asia, too, the regulations are becoming more strict. The Philippines just enacted a complete ban Opens a New Window. on smoking in public, one that includes e-cigs.

Because of concerns about quality and taste (hence the reason Philip Morris and British American use real tobacco for flavor), the growth trajectory of the devices has already declined significantly. After years of triple-digit growth, e-cig sales fell 6% in the first quarter of 2016.

If exploding e-cigs become any more of a phenomenon, that could stub out any chance of survival for the industry, even before the FDA regulations have an opportunity to wreak havoc.

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Alaska Airlines flight grounded after e-cig batteries ignite

Passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Anchorage on Sunday were delayed for more than five hours after a passenger’s backpack started burning. Batteries for an e-cigarette are the likely culprit.

Flight 67 had just made a scheduled stop in Ketchikan, and about half the passengers had deplaned when the incident occurred at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Andrew Hames was seated just a few rows behind the passenger.

“And I heard sort of a whooshing sound, like a quick hiss of air, and I looked up and about three rows in front of me a guy’s backpack started smoking and burst into orange and blue flame. He quickly got it off and hit it to the ground and some other passengers got up and started stomping on it.”

Hames said the man thought the source of the fire might have been an e-cigarette, but that wasn’t the complete answer. After all passengers had stepped off into the Ketchikan airport, Hames spoke briefly with the man as he emptied out his pack.

“And he said it was this device. And he held up the charger itself,” Hames said. “And it looked like there were some coins in the bottom and somehow made contact with that. And he also had several charred quarters sitting on the table as well.”

Hames also said the man appeared quite chagrined, and cooperated fully with authorities in the airport.

In a prepared statement, Alaska Airlines confirmed that freshly charged batteries were to blame. Spokesperson Ann Zaninovich also didn’t call the event a fire.

“Technical experts believe that when the batteries came in contact with metal keys and coins it caused a spark. There was visible smoke, and a set of keys and candy fell to the ground through a burnt hole in the backpack,” Zaninovich wrote. “While there was not fire, there was sparking, which prompted the flight attendants to take swift action and use the fire extinguisher.”

Zaninovich said that “out of an abundance of caution,” the aircraft’s first officer put “the device” in a fire containment bag, which is carried on all of the airline’s planes. She offered no comment on whether the incident would affect rules regarding the transport of e-cigarettes or battery chargers on aircraft.

Hames, however, considers the event an eye-opener.

“I imagine if those items had been underneath the airplane in the luggage compartment and somehow that same event had happened, it absolutely could have been more exciting than it already was,” he said.

Another aircraft was sent to take passengers on to Juneau and Anchorage. Hames and his family arrived in Sitka about five hours behind schedule. The original aircraft used for Flight 67 was returned to service about six hours later. A 12-inch square of burned carpet had been replaced.