GOP California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a long-time defender of e-cigarettes and tobacco in the military, has written a letter to the Navy, urging the service to reconsider its suspension of vaping and e-cigarettes.
Hunter put forward a series of questions to Stackley regarding the ban on e-cigarettes, in a letter sent Thursday to acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley.
“I would also ask that the Navy consider joining me in reducing any risks associated with system use rather than taking such an extraordinary step to deny a life-saving alternative to traditional tobacco use,” Hunter wrote in the letter.
The Navy issued a press release April 14 announcing the ban of “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems,” citing the dangers of exploding lithium-ion batteries to Marines and sailors and also to equipment. The suspension will come into effect on May 14.
“It has come to my attention that the Navy has banned vaping on ships citing battery explosions and related injuries,” Hunter said. “Given the reduced health risks vaping represents compared to tobacco products, I would like to better understand the Navy’s position in eliminating access to vaping products for sailors and Marines who are attempting to take a positive step to improve their health.”
Hunter wanted to know how many vaping incidents have occurred over the last year, how many sailors or Marines had been injured, the severity of the injuries and the number of incidents that were the fault of the user.
“I certainly understand the Navy’s need to mitigate risks aboard ships, and I recognize that under rare circumstances, batteries in vaping devices can cause injury,” Hunter said.
Hunter stated further in the letter that he will introduce legislation to regulate vaping devices, but in the meantime urged the Navy to be cautious, given that vaping can increase health benefits markedly by reducing tobacco consumption.
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