Electronic Cigarette Explosions and Fires: The 2015 Experience

Name of Report: "Electronic Cigarette Explosions and Fires: The 2015 Experience" (PDF, 202 KB)
Author: Richard Campbell
Date Issued: April 2016    

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine in a vapor form by heating a solution commonly comprised of propylene glycol, nicotine, and flavoring ingredients. Since entering the U.S. market in 2007, e-cigarettes have attracted a growing supply of consumers, and sales are expected to increase in the years ahead. Safety concerns have been raised by incidents involving e-cigarette fires and explosions.   

Report highlights

  • In 2014, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) published an alert that identified 25 separate e-cigarette fires and explosions dating to 2009 that were reported in the media.  
  • NFPA reviewed its records of fire incidents and found that the number of ecigarette fires and explosions reported in the media has increased since publication of the USFA report, with 15 separate e-cigarette fires and explosions identified in 2015.
  • Of the 15 e-cigarette incidents reported to media in 2015, 13 were described as explosions and two as ignitions.
  • Five incidents resulted in fires, three of which occurred while users were in the act of vaping and two while batteries were being charged.
  • Twelve incidents resulted in injuries requiring medical treatment.